Objectives. We sought to examine rates of suicide among individuals receiving health care services in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities over an 8-year period. Methods. We included annual cohorts of all individuals who received VHA health care services from fiscal year (FY) 2000 through FY 2007 (October 1, 1999-September 30, 2007; N = 8 855 655). Vital status and cause of death were obtained from the National Death Index. Results. Suicide was more common among VHA patients than members of the general US population. The overall rates of suicide among VHA patients decreased slightly but significantly from 2000 to 2007 (P < .001). Male veterans between the ages of 30 and 64 years were at the highest risk of suicide. Conclusions. VHA health care system patients are at elevated risk for suicide and are appropriate for suicide reduction services, although the rate of suicide has decreased in recent years for this group. Comprehensive approaches to suicide prevention in the VHA focus not only on recent returnees from Iraq and Afghanistan but also on middle-aged and older Veterans.
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