Reducing veteran suicide through web conferencing

Friday, June 22 2012

Suicide is a problem which afflicts almost all segments of the population, but veterans are especially at risk. Whether it's coping with traumatic events experienced during duty or adjusting to an unfamiliar civilian life, the pressures affecting former servicemen and -women are substantial.

Government agencies and mental health activists are always searching for new ways to deal with this scourge, and are often willing to experiment with new technologies in the process. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), for example, has begun trying to use video conferencing as a way of minimizing the risk of suicide among veterans, according to The Associated Press.

In the face of surging suicides, this solution aims to bring much needed help. At nearly one a day, the current suicide rate among American troops is the highest it's been since the modern wars in the Middle East were started a decade ago, the news source reports.

Believing that the difficulty of receiving treatment is a major factor in military suicides, the VA hopes that offering online conferencing as a way for veterans to get help could lower the rate. Noticing an uptick in digital communication in general, the organization states that this form of treatment could be popular and reduce the stigma of seeking help.

"Shame keeps too many veterans from seeking help," VA Secretary Eric Shineski said at a recent conference, according to the source.