Homeless Veterans are at particularly high risk for suicide. This is due to the multiple traumas and experiences that have left them without a place to call home. Numerous studies have revealed that homeless veterans are statistically more likely to die by suicide than those who are not homeless.
Homeless Veterans face specific challenges causing higher suicide rates compared to the general population
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans estimates that on any given night some 67,000 Veterans find themselves homeless. The reasons they become homeless vary, but can include substance abuse, mental illness, mounting debt, and physical disabilities. While all homeless individuals are at risk for suicide, the risk is especially acute for Veterans. Our Heroes are dealing with specific challenges related to their previous service.
Many homeless Veterans suffer from substance abuse problems as they self-medicate in an attempt to numb the psychological pain. These traumas are caused by military-related psychological traumas such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Substance abuse further contributes to financial and health problems that can lead to homelessness. In addition, the lack of consistent social support networks is high for those without homes. This interpersonal support is oftentimes unavailable to homeless Veterans.
Housing is the first step to providing homeless Veterans with comprehensive support
The greatest risk of suicide for homeless veterans occurs when they first become homeless. This is due to the challenges of adjusting to a homeless lifestyle, which can involve facing trauma from their experiences in the military, financial and health difficulties, substance abuse, and the lack of interpersonal support systems. In addition, the longer an individual remains homeless, the more isolated and isolated they can become, leading to hopelessness, despair, and a greater risk of suicide.
Comprehensive support services for homeless Veterans can help mitigate the risk of suicide. Housing assistance, financial literacy, job training programs, addiction recovery resources, mental health care and therapy, and support groups aimed at fostering a sense of community and belonging.
While the risk of suicide for homeless Veterans is incredibly high, with the right support and care, this risk can be greatly reduced. Join us in our mission to house 6,000 Homeless Veterans and their families in 2023 and help reduce Veteran suicides.