An Associated Press article earlier this month raised concern about the high rates of suicide among young male veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the article, preliminary data from the Veterans Affairs Department suggests that the suicide rate among 18- to 29-year-old male veterans has increased significantly (26 percent) from 2005 to 2007.
One positive element that emerges from the data is that veterans who used VA health care services in 2007 were less likely to commit suicide than those who did not—representing a change from previous years. This difference may reflect recent efforts taken by the VA to meet the needs of young veterans, such as hiring thousands of new mental health professionals and creating a suicide hot line for veterans and military members.
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