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Suicide Rate Rises Among Young US Veterans - Study

© AFP 2022Polish soldiers watch as US troops from the 5th Battalion of the 7th Air Defense Regiment emplace a launching station of the Patriot air and missile defence system at a test range in Sochaczew, Poland, on March 21, 2015.
Polish soldiers watch as US troops from the 5th Battalion of the 7th Air Defense Regiment emplace a launching station of the Patriot air and missile defence system at a test range in Sochaczew, Poland, on March 21, 2015. - Sputnik International
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Suicides by young veterans, aged 18 to 34, dramatically increased from 2015 to 2016, new data released by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) shows.

The VA's National Suicide Data Report shows that of every 100,000 veterans in that age group, 45 committed suicide in 2016, which is an increase from 40.4 of 100,000 in 2015.

In 2016, that means roughly 0.045 percent of troops in that age group took their own lives. 

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"It confirms what we've been seeing anecdotally," Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told Stars & Stripes. "It's a wave we've been seeing for years and trying to sound the alarm on."

The suicide rate also increased for female veterans from 2015 to 2016 and is at a rate 1.8 times higher than that of non-veteran women, according to the media outlet.

While the numbers don't seem large on the surface, veterans accounted for 14 percent of all suicides in the US in 2016 despite the fact that they make up 8 percent of the population. Between 2008 and 2016, more than 6,000 veterans took their own lives each year.

"Because many veterans do not use VA services and benefits, we must build networks of support, communication and care across the communities where veterans live and thrive," the report says, adding that the VA alone is incapable of addressing this "urgent" crisis.

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