Veteran Suicide Still a Growing Concern – Especially for Female Veterans

Veterans take their own lives at an alarming average of 20 each day. However, female veteran suicide continues to grow as well. What’s behind this alarming and upsetting trend?

According to the NPR piece, women veterans are two to five times more likely to take their own lives than civilian women. The audio discusses many common contributing factors to this trend, including:

  • PTSD
  • Financial concerns
  • Loneliness
  • Depression
  • Family concerns

However, they mentioned a few additional factors that are a bit more troubling.

Military Sexual Trauma (MST)

Sexual assault and/or abuse is an issue that continues to pop up in headlines. It’s become a contentious issue that comes about in sports all too often. Regrettably, it is not discussed enough when it comes to the military.

Did you know that one in four women screened by the Department of Veterans Affairs reports military sexual trauma (MST)? I bet you didn’t. One of the case workers they interviewed in this segment told it in a very upsetting way.

Talking about military sexual trauma, females often do not report it because then they’re looked at as, ‘oh, you are the barracks whore or no one’s going to believe you’ or ‘it’ll get investigated and you’ll still get in trouble.’

It’s no wonder that MST is such a big factor for women veterans feeling suicidal. If they feel like there won’t be a resolution, how on earth could they even begin to come to terms with the mental trauma it entails?

The gun factor

This piece brought up an interesting point that many may not consider. Guns are an inherent part of military service. Men and women are both trained to use them the same. Thus, it makes sense that a female veteran is more likely to feel comfortable using a gun.

It’s a troublesome topic to discuss, but one that needs to be discussed. This NPR segments mentioned some VA statistics about this. If accurate, and women veterans are 33 percent more likely to take their own life with a gun than civilians, then we need to do a better job reaching to to those in crisis.

If you’re a veteran in need of help, or you know a veteran who is having thoughts of suicide, please go to the Veterans Crisis Line now!

Our veterans need our help, and we all need to do more to reach out and help.