Female Vets 6 Times more likely to Commit Suicide than Non-Vets

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
(photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images)

Women who have served in the military are six times more likely to kill themselves than women who are not veterans, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.


The VA’s numbers also revealed that the suicide risk is highest in female veterans age 18 to 29, who are nearly 12 times more likely than other women to take their lives, The Washington Post reported.


Caitlin Thompson, the VA’s deputy director for suicide prevention, said one reason why the suicide rate is so high among ex-military women is they “are more comfortable with firearms — it’s part of the culture.” It’s also the reason that vets are more successful at committing suicide than their non-veteran counterparts. Guns are a much surer method of committing suicide than almost any other.


Thompson said one reason for the higher suicide rate among female vets might be the incidence of sexual assault in the military, along with other past traumatic experiences.

Alarmed by the statistics, the VA is conducting outreach to former servicewomen to talk to them about gun safety. The program includes offering free gunlocks to those who visit VA hospitals and clinics.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

VA Addresses Suicide by Gun Problem among Female Veterans (by Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, Washington Post)

Suicide Rate of Women Vets Triple that of Non-Vets (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Leave a comment