Lower suicide rates among vets who use VHA services

BLUF: A recent study suggests that veterans who use the services of the Veterans Health Administration are less likely to commit suicide.

I almost thought this might be propaganda for the VA. Like, if we put out that “researchers conducted a study,” well then, you can’t argue with that, can you…

Well, no… it doesn’t appear that the VA had much to do with the study. In fact, it’s not clear exactly how the study was performed, aside from inputting a bunch of numbers from the VA database into a computer program, and looking at what it spit out.

But one thing stands out:

Since 2003, the number of suicides among VHA-utilizing veterans was less than expected when compared directly with the suicide rate among non–VHA-utilizing veterans.

According to the data, even though suicide among veterans increased from 2003 to 2010, the number of suicides actually declined among vets who used VHA services.  This is significant, because as much as it’s drilled into our heads that we should be using the VA/VHA, and as difficult as it is to navigate the government bureaucracy, the fact is using their services can actually help prevent suicides.

Yeah, I know… Correlation doesn’t always equal causation. But anything that even hints that it might help prevent suicide among our brothers and sisters is something we should pay attention to.