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Veteran suicides exceed VA estimates

WASHINGTON — The number of veterans who commit suicide each day is more than 20 percent higher than the Department of Veterans Affairs previously estimated, but the problem doesn’t appear to be getting worse for veterans compared with the rest of the country, according to a VA study released Friday.

Indeed, the overall percentage of suicides by veterans has declined in recent years. VA researchers say the trend suggests that efforts to reduce suicide among veterans may be having an effect.

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About 22 veterans committed suicide each day in 2010. Previous estimates from the VA put the number at 18.

While much attention has been paid to suicides by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, the report indicates the problem is worse among older veterans. About 70 percent of veterans who commit suicide are over age 50.

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