An extensive study released on Saturday has revealed that the real rate of former US troops that are taking their own lives is about 2.4 times the suicides rate claimed by the government.
The study was based on a detailed analysis of 2014-2018 data from eight states done with the assistance of contract researchers at the University of Alabama and Duke University.
Operation Deep Dive (OpDD) study, released by a not-for-profit group called America’s War Partnership (AWP), established that 24 former service members on average are dying each day by officially declared suicides – wiping out the equivalent of a platoon of former troops – and additional 20 veterans are dying each day by self-injury mortality, such as drug overdoses.
That is 37% more suicides than what has been reported by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the years 2014-2018 and it is presumed that the difference in the data is likely due to undercounting of deaths by suicide and the greater specificity of the details – decedent’s demographics, military experience, and death – available to AWP.
The VA reported an average of 17.7 veteran suicides per day for that period.
The Department of Veterans Affairs typically categorizes as accidental or undetermined the deaths caused by self-injury, but such cases, according to AWP, involve deliberate actions that prove fatal, in many cases deliberately.
As per OpDD, the greatest risk of suicide was established among former troops with less than three years of service, with each year of additional service reducing the probability of suicide by about 2%.
Also, military veterans who were demoted during their military career were taking their own lives at a 56% higher rate than veterans in general. The highest suicide rate was determined among veterans from the Coast Guard, followed by the Marines, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.