More than half of members of a veterans' group for those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan know a post-9/11 vet who has committed suicide, a new poll shows.
In the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America annual survey of its members, 58 percent said they know a fellow vet who took their own life, nearly two-thirds said they know someone who attempted suicide, and more than one-third have had suicidal thoughts, Military Times reported.
The numbers of suicides and attempted suicides have increased about 18 percent since the group's 2014 membership survey, IAVA research director Jackie Maffucci told the outlet, calling it "a dire situation."
"The trend lines are going up, which clearly indicates how much work we have to do in this area," she told Military Times.
About 20 veterans each day nationwide commit suicide, Military Times reported, citing Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, and VA Secretary David Shulkin has called the issue his top clinical priority.
In other findings:
- 82 percent of respondents said they have gotten some healthcare services through VA; roughly 40 percent of all veterans nationwide regularly receive department medical care.
- 16 percent of IAVA members surveyed said they think troops and veterans get the care they need for mental health problems.
- More than half of IAVA vets said a friend or family member suggested looking into medical help for undiagnosed mental health issues — and of that group, 80 percent said they followed the advice.
- About 42 percent rated VA services as good, and 13 percent as very good; 25 percent rated them as poor, and 10 percent as very poor.
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