VA HSR&D researchers conduct an extensive number of investigations designed to improve clinical decision-making and care, inform patients, evaluate changes in the healthcare system, and inform VA policymaking. In Progress is a quarterly publication that will highlight ongoing HSR&D research on various topics.
In 2014, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for all ages–and the 2nd leading cause of death for individuals aged 15 to 34.1 Although an estimated 20 Veteran suicides occurred each day in 2014, only 30% of Veteran suicides were among those who were receiving VA healthcare. Between 2001 and 2014, the rate of suicide increased among both Veterans and civilians, but the increase was larger among Veterans (32%) than among adult civilians (23%).2 In addition, the increasing rate of suicides among women Veterans prompted Congress to pass the Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act, which President Obama signed into law on June 30, 2016.3 Moreover, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin targeted suicide prevention as "top priority in VA."
VA HSR&D researchers are conducting an extensive number of investigations designed to improve suicide prevention efforts for Veterans. These include studies of enhanced clinical decision-making and outreach, examination of Veteran perspectives and social supports, and rigorous evaluation of novel, data-driven clinical practices to inform VA policymaking. This issue of In Progress features:
1. Suicide. National Institute of Mental Health.
2. VA releases results of largest analysis of Veterans suicide rates. ABC News. July 7, 2016.
3. VA Mental Health Care. Fact Sheet. VA Office of Public Affairs, Media Relations. April 2016.