Invisible Wounds: Preventing Suicide in Our Nation’s Military and Veteran Communities
Washington D.C. (November 11, 2021)—On November 17, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. ET, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, will hold a hearing to examine how the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and community organizations are working to strengthen mental health and curb the alarming rate of suicides among our nation’s military servicemembers and veterans. The hearing will demonstrate the need for a holistic approach to suicide prevention and will also highlight the importance of supporting military families after the loss of a loved one.
Despite high-level attention from DOD and the VA across multiple administrations, suicide deaths among post-9/11 servicemembers and veterans have outpaced combat deaths. On average, more than 6,300 veterans have died by suicide annually since 2001 and hundreds of active duty, National Guard, and Reserve servicemembers die by suicide each year, according to data collected by the VA and DOD.
This crisis has profound implications for U.S. national security, as well as the health, morale, and well-being of our nation’s servicemembers, veterans, and their families. President Biden’s new strategy for “Reducing Military and Veteran Suicide” offers a comprehensive roadmap for improving mental health and suicide prevention efforts by strengthening community engagement, reducing barriers to care, expanding lethal means safety education, and addressing “upstream risk” factors that may tragically contribute to suicide.
Brigadier General Jack Hammond
Executive Director, Home Base
Ms. Alyssa M. Hundrup
Director, Health Care, Government Accountability Office
Staff Sergeant (ret.) Johnny Jones
Board of Directors, Boot Campaign
Dr. Carla Stumpf-Patton
Senior Director, Postvention Programs, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors