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Why LA County Needs To Learn More About Veteran Suicide

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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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