Pentagon and VA: We can prevent military suicide — together

Dr. Elizabeth P. Van Winkle and Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen

6,139 veterans in 2017. 541 members of the active-duty military, Reserve and National Guard in 2018. 186 military family members in 2018. These numbers don’t just represent our suicide numbers. Each suicide is a human life lost, with loved ones, units and friends left behind. The cost is too high.

In our country, only 1% volunteer to serve and protect our Constitution; our nation is grateful for their service. The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs must, and will, do better for our military members, veterans and their families. We don’t accept these numbers, nor are we complacent.

We are seeing unprecedented efforts to increase access to care, reduce stigma and build coping skills. We are seeing unprecedented commitment at the highest levels to prevent suicide within our communities. But no organization, agency or effort can alone end suicide. The most recent data shows

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