New report shows that suicide rate among U.S. military veterans is considerably higher in western and rural parts of the country, indicating that female and older veterans are at higher risk.
The new released data is the first-ever Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) data on suicide that shows wide state-by-state disparities, the AP reported.
It shows that social isolation, gun ownership and limited access to health care are likely factors for higher suicide rates.
The data demonstrated that states such as Montana, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico had the highest rates of veteran suicide as of 2014.
The suicide rates among U.S. war veterans in the four states stood at 60 percent per 100,000 individual, much higher than the average veteran suicide rate of 38.4.
“This requires closer investigation into why suicide rates by veteran status are higher, including the role that opiates play,” epidemiologist Rajeev Ramchand emphasized.
“These findings are deeply concerning, which is why I made suicide prevention my top clinical priority,” VA Secretary David Shulkin said recently. “This is a national public health issue.”
U.S. military has been involved in numerous countries across the world. In the Middle East, the American forces have been present in Iraq and Afghanistan since the U.S. invaded the two countries.