"Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said in an address Monday morning that his only clinical priority at the moment is making sure the veteran suicide rate drops.
"The last priority and really my only clinical priority that I talk about right now is suicide and veteran suicide," Shulkin said Monday at the 118th Veterans of Foreign Wars."
All across America, even in the general population, suicide is at an epidemic crisis, a public health crisis," Shulkin said Monday at the 118th Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention. "You can see since 2001 and 2014 that suicides among all Americans went up 23 percent, but among veterans it went up 31 percent. You can see particularly among females that female veteran suicides went up 62 percent."
"The difficulty in addressing the issue of veteran suicides is that this can't just be the VA," Shulkin continued. "If you take a look between 2001 and 2014, if veterans were using the VA, the suicide went up 5.4 percent. But for veterans who aren't using the VA, it went up 38.4 percent."
Shulkin affirmed during his speech the need to work more closely with community groups and organizations like VFW to tackle the suicide problem.
Shulkin also noted that the VA has developed predictive tools to determine which veterans are at high-risk for suicide and assigned employees to give them a call to bring them in for care."
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