Connecticut Veterans And The Alarming Rate Of Suicide

Sad man.
Print icon

Not too long ago, suicide rates for active military members and veterans were lower than those of the general population. Yet the military (active and veterans) now represents 20 percent of all suicides in the United States after a doubling of suicide rates between 2001 and 2009.

Veterans Day, a national holiday Nov. 11 that honored living military veterans, should not pass without recognizing the increased risk for military personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and those receiving Veterans Administration services. They, too, are represented disproportionately in national suicide rates, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An estimated 20 veterans a day commit suicide, according to a study by the Department of Veterans Affairs. In Connecticut, 49 veterans died by suicide in 2014 (the most recent statistics available), a suicide rate of 25.9 per 100,000 population. Both the Connecticut rate and the national veteran rate (38.4) exceed the age-adjusted, general-population suicide rate in the United States (13.0).

The Veterans Administration has developed a suicide prevention treatment plan that includes techniques to distract people enduring intense suicidal thoughts.

“Offer your support in getting them help,” says Dr. Linda Durst, the Institute of Living‘s medical director. “Being critical or judgmental about their experience will only invalidate their experience and shut down their ability to communicate with you.”

Veterans who attempt suicide are more likely to succeed because they often use firearms. (The VA hands out gun locks and recommends veterans keep their weapons unloaded.) Substance abuse is also a theme nationally in suicides.

“The population that suffers from substance abuse disorders is at an extremely high risk of suicide because of the nature of he substances,” says Dr. J. Craig Allen, Rushford‘s medical director, “which can increase the rates of depression, decrease inhibitions and increase impulsivity. And the one variable that’s most highly correlated with suicide is alcohol.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, visit the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.800.273.8255 or click here. The Veterans Crisis Line is 1.800.273.8255 (Press 1). To learn more about Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network, click here.


What's New

Kidney stones

The Making of a Kidney Stone (And How to Avoid It)

Staying hydrated during the warm summer months is key for many reasons. But one reason you may not know: Drinking plenty of fluids can prevent kidney stones. Kidney stones are hard deposits of crystalized salt and minerals that form in your kidney. When urine contains more crystal-forming substances than fluids,...


New Research Looks at Post-Weight Loss Surgery Outcomes

Doctors and researchers at Hartford Hospital have been awarded a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases to conduct a study using neuroimaging predictors to better understand and improve a patient’s long-term weight loss outcomes following bariatric surgery. Dr. Godfrey Pearlson is director of the Olin Neuropsychiatry...


Outpatient Rehabilitation Clinic Opens in Newington

Staff from Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network joined members of the Newington Chamber of Commerce and Town Council for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Hospital of Central Connecticut Rehabilitation Network’s new outpatient clinic on Fenn Road in Newington.  The event was also attended by representatives from the Hartford HealthCare/GoHealth Urgent Care...


New Research May Change the Way Women are Screened for Cervical Cancer

In Canadian research that could eventually change the way women are screened for cervical cancer, a test to identify the human papillomavirus (HPV) was deemed more accurate than traditional Pap exams at detecting precancerous cervical lesions. The study, which examined test results in more than 19,000 women, was published in...


Coping with the Loss of a Beloved Pet

Many of us count among our family not just the humans members, but also the animals we keep as pets. And when they die, we miss them. We cry. We grieve. Helping a child cope with the loss of a pet can be difficult. Dr. Laura Saunders, child and adolescent...

Tofu Salad

Recipe: Tasty Tofu Lunch Salad

By Jeanne Tennis Here’s a good-for-you recipe for the hottest days of the summer: No oven or stovetop required. Tasty Tofu Lunch Salad In a mixing bowl combine: One small organic carrot, finely grated. 3 -4 Tablespoons of organic onion, minced. 1 heaping Tablespoon of fresh, organic dill. 3-4 Tablespoons...


Hundreds Ride Against Cancer at Annual ‘ERRACE’ Event

Hundreds of cyclists, walkers, runners and spectators turned up at Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute in Avon on Saturday, July 14, to ride, walk and run against cancer in the annual ‘ERRACE’ event. ERRACE, which stands for Everyone Ride/Run Against Cancer Everyday, was started in 2010 to raise awareness about cancer,...