Data Confirms Veterans Suicide Crisis - Cohen Veterans Network
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Data Confirms Veterans Suicide Crisis

Recently released VA data confirms the suicide crisis among veterans. In 2014, on average 20 veterans took their own lives every day. The common estimate as of 2010 was that there were 22 veteran suicides per day but the numbers were only speculation as explained in the Military Times.

David Shulkin, VA undersecretary for health, noted in USA Today the slight decline from the 2010 estimate, but added, “it’s still far too high.”

 

This precise data will enable more informed suicide prevention programs from the VA with an emphasis on outreach to at-risk groups such as older and female veterans. The Commissions on Care report also highly recommends an expansion of access to care for veterans with Other Than Honorable discharges.

 

This dedication to an expansion of care and the report’s admission that the lack of access to doctors is the VA’s biggest failure suggests a willingness to create formal public-private partnerships in the future. There is clearly a critical need for “integrated, community-based” health care networks for all veterans to use.

 

Hassan at a VA event in April.

Hassan at a VA event in April.

CVN Executive Director Anthony Hassan says, “We are demonstrating what this ‘private sector community based provider’ can do and are clearly going to be a frontrunner for veteran community based private mental health care in the near future.”

 

The Cohen Veterans Network model is ideal for this type of relationship, backed by a firm $275M commitment from Steve Cohen which has already gained national attention.

 

As Dave Phillips of The New York Times astutely opined, “It’s unclear how that new public-private agglomeration is supposed to work, but getting those devilish details right is crucial.” A New York Times opinion piece offers further examination of this issue.

By Ben Grossman, CVN Summer Associate