Why LA County Needs To Learn More About Veteran Suicide
Suicide among military veterans is an ongoing problem, but efforts to cope with it are hampered by data that’s often old and incomplete.
There’s a push in L.A. County to get a better, real-time understanding of not just the number of veterans who are lost to suicide, but more information on the indivuals behind the numbers.
A study of all L.A. County suicide deaths during the past five years found nearly 6% could be confirmed as veterans. That’s in a county where veterans make up about 3% of the larger population. Sharon Birman, Chief of Suicide Prevention at the West L.A. V.A. Medical Center, presented the data at a virtual conference this fall.
“That’s really scary, that’s compelling data,” Birman said. “That says ... we need to pay attention to this vulnerable population.”
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ASK FOR HELP:
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
- Steinberg Institute website, links to mental health resources and care throughout California,
- Institute on Aging's 24/7 Friendship Line (especially for people who have disabilities or are over 60), 1-800-971-0016 or call 415-750-4138 to volunteer.
- Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, 24/7 Access Line 1-800-854-7771, links to COVID-19 information.
- The Crisis Text Line, Text "HOME" (741-741) to reach a trained crisis counselor.
- California Psychological Association Find a Psychologist Locator
- Psychology Today guide to therapists