Suicide Epidemic Among Veterans

This week, CBS News presented the findings of a five-month investigation into veteran suicides. The results paint a frightening picture of despair.

We found veterans are killing themselves twice as much as non-veterans.

In 2005 alone, at least 6256 men and women who served their country committed suicide. That's more than 120 suicides per week.

Based on analysis of 2004 and 2005 data, we also found those most at risk for suicide are veterans between the ages of 20 to 24.

In addition to the numbers, we also sat down with a group of families whose loved ones all served in Iraq and then committed suicide when they returned home.

There's been a lot of reaction to our story. For example, Senator Daniel Akaka (D), Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, released the following statement:

"The report that the rate of suicide among veterans is double that of the general population is not only deeply troubling to me but simply unacceptable. In light of the grim news in the CBS story, I hope that the sense of urgency which has guided the committee's extensive action on mental health issues this session will continue."

A viewer whose husband served in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and is scheduled to redeploy next summer sent us this note:

"My husband a California National Guard member … broke down and told me that he was extremely depressed and had been thinking of ways to kill himself. I just want to thank you for making America aware that this is an epidemic that the VA is doing nothing about."

Our first story reveals the findings of our investigation. Here is a link.

Our second story takes a close look at the Department of Veterans Affairs and its handling of mental health and suicides. Here is a link.


And, here are some Web extras available only on CBSNews.com:

Here are individuals talking about what it's like to lose a loved one to suicide.




An extended interview with Paul Sullivan, a former VA analyst who is now an advocate for veterans rights from the group Veterans For Common Sense.




Extra footage of Armen Keteyian talking to the families of those who committed suicide.




And finally, a link to the methodology behind the research


  • Pia Malbran

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