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Military and Veteran suicide prevention

AFSP supports legislation that prioritizes suicide prevention for Veterans, Service members, and their families.

About the issue

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report (2019), the suicide rate among Veterans is 1.5 times greater than the non-Veteran population ages 18+, with over 6,000 Veterans dying by suicide each year. Despite accounting for just 7.9% of the population, Veterans account for 13.5% of all suicide deaths in the United States.

There is no single cause of suicide among Veterans and Service members, but by treating and preventing mental health and substance use conditions, addressing access to lethal means (firearms accounted for 69.4% of Veteran suicides in 2017), and empowering Veterans and Service members to live and thrive in their communities, we can save lives.

For more information about firearms and suicide prevention, please see the toolkit A Toolkit for Safe Firearm Storage in Your Community created in partnership with the VA and NSSF.

Our policy position

AFSP is committed to protecting those who protect us and believes that Veteran and military suicide prevention must continue to be a national priority.

Currently, AFSP is focused on supporting the passage of legislation that prioritizes suicide prevention for Veterans, Service members, and their families, enhancing programs that target at-risk Veterans, and aiding the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in its mission to serve and honor our former Service members.

Preventing suicide in military families

Additional resources

Veterans Crisis Line
1-800-273-TALK (8255) Press 1 for Veterans,
24/7 Phone, chat, and text
Additional services available for the deaf and hard of hearing (800)-799-4889

Vets 4 Warriors
855-838-8255
24/7 confidential peer support network
Phone, chat, text, email for Veterans, service members, family members, caregivers

Psychological Health Resource Center
866-966-1020
24/7 phone, chat, email for Service members, veterans, family members, clinicians, commanders, or anyone with a question about psychological health in the military.

Military One Source
1-800-342-9647
24/7 confidential phone and chat for Veterans, service members and their families

TAPS National Military Survivor Helpline
1-800-959-TAPS (8277)
24/7 phone and chat for military families and loss survivors

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