There were 7,298 suicides among current and former service members in 2016, according to the VA’s most recent statistics. Former Guard and Reserve members who were never federally activated made up 902 of those suicides, or about 10 percent of the total number of suicides among current and former service members.
In response to those numbers, the VA has released a suicide prevention toolkit specifically for former Guard and Reserve members who have never been federally activated.
The #BeThere toolkit includes resources that are available both within the VA medical community and in the civilian community. It includes resources such as online suicide prevention training, mobile apps that help manage stress and support services for family members who are seeking care for loved ones.
“Extending support to former Guard and Reserve members at the community level is an important aspect of VA’s public health approach to preventing suicide,” said Dr. Keita Franklin, executive director for suicide prevention in VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.