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Male veterans have a 19% greater risk of suicide than their civilian counterparts, according to a VA report released this month that provides a groundbreaking look at veterans' suicide rates compared to civilians. The rate for male veterans age 18-29 has been increasing faster than any other age group among men and women since 2006.

Expand chart
Data: 'Suicide Among Veterans and Other Americans, 2001–2014'; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

For help: Veterans and loved ones can "call the free and confidential Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255," per the VA. More options via the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The crisis: An average of 20 veterans die every day, and of those, 14 may have received no care from the Veterans Health Administration. What that means, as VA Secretary David Shulkin told the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee last week, is that “we need to find a way to provide care or assistance to all of these individuals." He called suicide among veterans a "crisis" in his opening statement.

  • The overall suicide rate wasn't as high for female veterans — but it was two and a half times higher than civilian women after adjusting for age, according to the report.
  • For female veterans, suicide rates are highest in the younger years. For male veterans, suicide rates are highest in younger and older years.
  • Overall, veterans have a risk of dying by suicide 22% higher than the U.S. civilian adult population, per 2014 data.

What the VA is doing:

  • The VA rolled out its "REACH VET" (Recovery Engagement and Coordination for Health Veterans Enhanced Treatment) program between November 2016 and February 2017, which uses a predictive model to analyze veterans' health records to identify those most at risk for suicide. The idea is that identification can lead to further engagement with primary care or mental health providers.
  • Earlier this year, the VA announced it would hire 1,000 more mental health employees, which Shulkin said is on track to be done by December. They've hired 649 additional mental health employees as of this month.
  • Since 2015, the VA has contracted with an independent evaluator to assess VA mental health and suicide prevention programs. A report is due at the end of this month.

Go deeper

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over deportation of migrants and asylum-seekers

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.

First-time homebuyers shrink as prices spike

Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Axios Visuals

Home sales cooled as prices continued to heat up in August.

Driving the news: The share of first-time existing homebuyers (29%) last month was the smallest in two years, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - World

Airbnb co-founders double Afghan refugee program to 40,000

Afghan refugees arriving at Dulles International Airport in Virginia in August 2021. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and co-founder Joe Gebbia said during a visit to Washington on Wednesday that they're offering temporary housing to 40,000 Afghan refugees worldwide, doubling a previous commitment.

The big picture: The housing typically lasts several weeks, and Airbnb and Airbnb.org provide subsidies to hosts. Hosts and donors also help pay.