Providing Community and Connectedness for Our Veterans

Each and every day members of the military put their lives at risk to protect Americans. I am so thankful for these brave, generous and patriotic individuals. After they finish their service to the military many veterans lead healthy lives, however this is not the case for others.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicides in the general population in the United States are experiencing the highest rate in decades. Suicide rates for veterans are even more troublesome—with suicide rates for veterans 1.5 times higher than for the non-veteran population. And young veterans had the highest suicide rate in 2016. Approximately 22 veterans succumb to suicide every day.

There are many factors that contribute to veteran suicide. Common factors experienced by veterans prior to suicide include depression, intimate partner problems, alcohol dependence, recent or impending crisis or employment issues that may stem from challenges integrating back into civilian life.

The CDC Foundation, in collaboration with CDC, is working with five veteran service organizations to help measure the impact of their suicide prevention programs. The CDC Foundation awarded grants to America’s Warrior Partnership, The Arizona Coalition for Military Families, The Mission Continues, Stack Up and The Warrior Alliance. Each of these organization are evaluating, measuring and reporting the impact of incorporating community integration and connectedness interventions into their programs.

“Preventing suicides among veterans is not just intervening in a crisis,” said Rob Abraham, senior advancement officer, CDC Foundation. “It’s about helping veterans feel connected to each other, their community and to resources that can aid in everyday life. We’re seeing early, upstream interventions, such as increasing access to housing, assisting with employment opportunities and even finding a new work out buddy, can make a big impact in the lives of veterans and their families.”

To learn more about how we are working with these veteran serving organizations, read our stories:

Bridging the Gap: Gaming Group Builds Community for Veterans

CDC Foundation Grants Help Combat Veteran Suicide

Photo of Amy Tolchinsky
Amy Tolchinsky is the communications director for the CDC Foundation.