Study Finds Delays for VA Mental Health Care, High Suicide Risk

More than two-thirds of veterans who needed mental health care at a Veterans Administration clinic suffered long delays getting appointments, according to Stars and Stripes, citing a study by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

The IAVA survey of young veterans, mainly from the Army or Marine Corps, also revealed that almost 50 percent of veterans know at least one veteran who has tried to kill himself.

The 2,000 veterans who replied to the survey said that suicide and mental health are the biggest issues facing soldiers who took part in the Iraq and Afghan wars after the 9/11 attacks.

The research also revealed that 31 percent of respondents have thought about taking their own lives since joining the military, while 40 percent know at least one one veteran from either war who has committed suicide.

The findings also showed that 53 percent of young vets have a mental health problem, and of those, 27 percent are not going for treatment.

At least two out of every three veterans who did seek mental health at a VA mental health care provider said they had major difficulties scheduling an appointment, in contrast with the just 31 percent of veterans who went to non-VA facilities and found long delays.