Preventing suicide among LGBT Veterans

Suicide prevention is VA’s highest clinical priority. Our most vulnerable Veteran communities, including LGBT Veterans, face some of the biggest obstacles in seeking help. LGBT Veterans experience depression and suicidal ideations at twice the rate of heterosexual Veterans.

Today, it is estimated that one million of our nation’s Veterans identify as LGBT. Studies reveal LGBT Veterans accessing VA services were more likely to screen positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and alcohol misuse than non-LGBT Veterans.

“Treatment works and recovery is possible.”

Veterans who could not or did not serve openly in the military or concealed their sexual orientation while in service were associated with higher rates of depression and PTSD.

Suicide is preventable. Seek help early.

LGBT Veterans may experience chronic stress from discrimination. This stress is worse for those who need to hide their sexual identity, as well as for those who have lost important emotional support because of their sexual orientation. Interpersonal stressors such as a failing or failed relationship have also been associated with increased rates of suicide for both service members and Veterans.

Treatment works and recovery is possible. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, sadness, depression, stress, or any other warning signs of suicide, talk with your VA provider or therapist right away. Ask your VA provider about including mental health as part of your routine care. Don’t wait until you’re in crisis.

Know the warning signs of suicide.

Many Veterans may not show any signs of intent to harm themselves before doing

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