While veteran suicides have declined in recent years, the latest statistics show that persons between 18 and 34 are killing themselves at an increasing rate. Younger veterans accounted for the highest percentage of suicides.
The Department of Veterans Affairs released the statistics of an internal study of suicides, conducted between 2005 and 2016, on Sept. 26. Other relevant figures show:
• The number of current and former service members who killed themselves declined to 7,298 from 7,663 between 2015 and 2016.
• During that same time, veteran-specific suicides declined to 6,079 from 6,281.
• An average of 20 current or former service members commit suicide every day. Six of those 20 have used the VA health-care system.
• Firearms accounted for 67 percent of all suicides in 2015 and 69.4 percent in 2016.