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Statistics show suicide increasing among young veterans

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A new analysis shows that suicide rates among veterans aged 18-29 is on the rise There's been a 44 percent increase from 2009 to 2011. The statistics also show there has been a drop in the suicide rate among older veterans aged 35 to 64.

In 2009, 88 younger veterans took their own lives in 2011. Within three years that number jumped to 152. This means a 44 percent rise in the suicide rate, which jumped to 57.9 suicides per 100,000 veterans.

Experts can't explain why the surge of suicides among younger veterans. The rise occurred at a time while the Department of Veterans Affairs were increasing their suicide prevention efforts.

The L.A. Times reports, "One possibility is that those efforts have been successful in drawing more suicidal young veterans to the VA for care, but that many still wind up killing themselves."

A suicide expert, Timothy Lineberry, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. said, "if you have more people at risk, the rates are going to change." Lineberry was not part of the government analysis.

The increase in the suicide rate among younger veterans is being called "alarming." One reason is that younger vets are said to be more reluctant in seeking mental health treatment.

The Good Man Project says, "an estimated 600,000 suffer from mental health conditions. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs say that 11-20 percent of these service members experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),"

It's said on average 18 veterans reach the point of being unable to go on and take their own lives. In 2012, 182 vets killed themselves compared to 176 being killed in combat and there's another 110 reported suicides under investigation.

Is the VA really doing enough for our veterans who might have mental health needs? The VA only meets it goal in being able to fully evaluate veterans, within 14 days, 49 percent of the time. The other 51 percent have to wait on average 50 days before having a full evaluation.

When seconds and minutes count—as they do in combat—the VA did not meet its own standard, according to the Vantage Point website.

After more than a decade of war, there's a rising need for mental health services for veterans. After veterans return home too often they are essentially discarded and forgotten and it should not be that way. Our veterans should be taken care of and made sure they have what they need to transition back into society.

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