Number of veteran suicides increases

Number of veteran suicides increases

The number of veterans who died by suicide increased to 6,392 in 2021 from 6,278 the previous year, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released Nov. 16.

Its notable that 2021 was the first full year of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to greater financial strain, housing instability, anxiety and depression levels, and barriers to health care – all of which are associated with increased risk of suicide for veterans. Additionally, VA noted, there was also an increase in firearm availability in 2021, which is proven to raise both the risk of suicide and the risk of dying during a suicide attempt.

In 2021, The American Legion launched its Be the One mission to reduce the rate of veteran suicide by creating more awareness, lessening the stigma of mental health treatment and encouraging everyone to act when the life of a veteran may be at risk.

The number of veteran suicides in 2021 are down from 2018 when there were 6,718.

“There is nothing more important to VA than preventing veteran suicide — nothing,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said. “One veteran suicide will always be one too many, and we at VA will use every tool at our disposal to prevent these tragedies and save veterans’ lives.” 

This report is based on verified data from the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Defense, and it meets the quality standards of a peer-reviewed publication.

For more detailed information about veteran suicide in 2021, view the full report.

The Veterans Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Dial 988 then Press 1, or chat online at, or text 838255.