New data shows spike in Connecticut veteran suicides, advocates fear pandemic could trigger more

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(WTNH) — The Federal Department of Veteran’s Affairs released new statistics showing veteran suicides are on the rise. Advocates are now on high alert fearing the pandemic will trigger more.

The report tracked suicide rates across the country over the last fourteen years, and even though the veteran population went down in Connecticut, suicide rates went up.

RELATED: Experts worry that suicide rates could increase in CT amid pandemic

The report showed there were ten more suicides in our state in 2018 than 2017. While the increase is small, advocates are montioring veterans who they fear might be impacted by the pandemic.

The report cited a number of risk factors due to COVID-19 related isolation, social distancing, increased veteran unemployment, among other things.

The commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Veterans Affairs says it’s sad to see the number climb, but it also tells another story.

“When you unpack the analysis, you’ll see those veterans who are part of the VA healthcare system receiving support from the federal VA, as well as other comanaged healthcare and mental health services, those suicide rate numbers actually declined,” Thomas J. Saadi.

The commissioner says advocates and health professionals are monitoring veteran patients through Zoom meetings, other telehealth services, phone calls, texts and emails.

The Connecticut State Department of Veterans Affairs also developed a mobile app that provides supportive services and information to help you identify the signs and symptoms related to suicide.

Here is the link for the Department of Veterans Affairs Mobile app: https://portal.ct.gov/DVA/Pages/CTVeterans-Mobile-App.

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