New Study Reveals Massive Increase in Veteran Suicides in Montana
Earlier this year, the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) released a report detailing an overall decrease in veteran suicide in 2020. However, it does seem like other studies contradict these findings. A study done by Operation Deep Dive took veteran suicide numbers from 8 states across the nation including Montana. Their numbers describe an increase instead of a decrease.
Montana's suicide rates are high as it is.
In 2020, Montana ranked number 3 in the country in suicide rate at 25.9%. With numbers that high, it's certainly not surprising that veteran suicides are quite high as well. According to the same study, about 28% of veteran deaths were suicides. That's such a massive number and nearly a third of all veterans.
The numbers in Operation Deep Dive's study are appalling as well. Their latest report took veteran suicide information from eight states, one of them being Montana, and found that 24 former service members (FSMs) die per day via suicide, and 20 FSMs die via Self-Injury Mortality incidents, such as overdoses. That's 44 veteran deaths per day. Remember, the VA reported a decrease in veteran suicides in 2020.
Operation Deep Dive's study is double what it used to be.
Previously in 2012, the VA reported that 22 veterans die by suicide every day, which is half of this new study. A documentary called Project 22 highlighted this issue; following two combat-wounded veterans that rode motorcycles from San Francisco to New York bringing awareness and campaigning for support for veteran suicide.
Support for veterans is out there. And if you or someone you care about is struggling, please reach out to services like the Wounded Warrior Project or NAMI. You can also use the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988.