New research shows that the rate of suicide among female veterans is nearly six times the rate of other women. Until recently, there had been little to no research into the rate of suicide among servicewomen and female veterans.
Among women, the high suicide rates may have to do with a lack of camaraderie among female service members, the background of female volunteers, age of the servicemember, and events that occur during tours of duty.
Suicide rates are based on the annual number of deaths for every 100,000 people. For male veterans that figure is 32.1 compared to 20.9 for other men. Conversely, for female veterans the rate was 28.7 compared to 5.2 for all other women. The research was based on 174,000 suicides from 23 states, between 2000 and 2010.
“It’s staggering … We have to come to grips with why the rates are so obscenely high,” says Dr. Matthew Miller, an epidemiologist and suicide expert at Northeastern University — he was not involved in the research.