|Chart based on partial report issued in 2012|
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The study also breaks down gender and age disparities: female veterans are two and a half times more likely to die by suicide than their civilian counterparts. Male veterans are 19 percent more likely. Veterans 50 or older account for about 65 percent of veteran suicides.
The problem is nationwide. Rajeev Ramchard, an epidemiologist who studies suicide for the RAND Corp, told Yen that veterans in every state are at least one and a half times more likely to die by suicide than the general population. He pointed out that 70 percent of veterans who take their lives had not been connected to VA health care. "These findings are deeply concerning, which is why I made suicide prevention my top clinical priority," VA Secretary David Shulkin told ABC. "This is a national public health issue."
"Shulkin, who has worked to provide same-day mental health care at VA medical centers, recently expanded emergency mental care to veterans with other than honorable discharges," Yen reports. "The department is also boosting its suicide hotline and expanding telehealth options." Expanding private-sector care and stemming veterans' suicide are priorities of President Trump. In a statement this week as part of Suicide Prevention Month, he said the U.S. 'must do more' to help mentally troubled veterans.