Who are the 22 veterans?

Steve Rose PhD

In 2012, a VA report stated that an average of 22 veterans died by suicide in both 2009 and 2010. Recently, this number has become popularized in the 22 push-up challenge, bringing awareness to the issue of suicide among veterans. In the wake of this popular campaign, I want to bring attention to a question that has often been left out of the conversation: who are these veterans and why are they dying by suicide?

Take a few moments to study the table from the report. Can you spot what is happening?

Veteran suicides

Notice what happens in the 50-59 age group? Veteran suicide begins to outpace non-veteran suicide, with the gap steadily increasing with age. To answer the question of who these 22 veterans are, notice the main finding: “More than 69% of Veteran suicides are among those age 50 and older.”

In addition to this age demographic, other tables in the report…

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