September is National Suicide Prevention Month, which aims to increase awareness of suicide as a public health issue as well as increase awareness about how to reduce suicide and intervene if someone is experiencing a suicidal crisis. Suicide awareness and prevention is of particular importance to the military and veteran communities, who are disproportionately impacted by suicide compared to the general population. To recognize our veterans, Sens. Tim Caine, D-Va., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., introduced a bipartisan resolution in the Senate that recognizes Sept. 30, 2020, as National Veterans Suicide Prevention Day. APA supported this resolution and has been consistently advocating for the mental health needs of our veterans and service members.
The day after this resolution was agreed to in the Senate, the Department of Defense (DoD) released its Annual Suicide Report for Calendar Year 2019. The report found that suicide rates for members of the National Guard and Reserve fell from 2018 to 2019, with National Guard suicide rates falling significantly from 30.8 per 100,000 to 20.3 per 100,000. Suicide rates for active duty members increased slightly from 24.9 per 100,000 to 25.9 per 100,000.
APA has advocated for several interventions that aim to reduce suicide among members of the military, including supporting the PREVENTS Task Force, calling for appropriate reimbursement rates for psychologists in DoD’s TRICARE network and supporting legislation in the House and Senate that will help reduce military and veteran suicide rates.
For more information, please contact Sophie Friedl.