The Norman Transcript

Local news

August 28, 2013

Suicide rate for Oklahoma veterans, active-duty military sees incline

NORMAN — Oklahoma veterans and active-duty military personnel are killing themselves at twice the rate of civilians, despite increased efforts to address the problem.

The 2011 suicide rate for soldiers was about 44 per 100,000 population, according to an Oklahoma Watch analysis of Oklahoma State Department of Health data. This rate includes active-duty military as well as veterans from the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Gulf War, Vietnam, Korea and World War II. The civilian rate for people over the age of 18 was about 22 per 100,000.

In 2011, 141 of the state’s 684 suicides were veterans, according to state health department records.

The veteran suicide rate in Oklahoma is down from a peak of about 46 in 2008, but researchers said that year had increased suicides due to the Great Recession. The rate dropped to about 39 in 2009 and has since climbed back up.

The rates were calculated by analyzing death certificates, which include military status. The state doesn’t differentiate between active-duty personnel and veterans, but it appears likely that most are veterans based on age groups at risk for suicide. The 2011 figures are the most recent data available that can be compared with population numbers.

The increased numbers and rates of suicides come at a time when the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has received budget increases for mental health services, and suicide risk for service members has stirred an ongoing national discussion.

The Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act of 2007 aimed to lower suicides by authorizing a national campaign to increase mental health awareness, education, counseling and suicide-prevention research.

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services recently allocated $500,000 in new funding for suicide prevention programs, including veterans outreach.

The Oklahoma suicide figures appear to track national trends. An analysis by News21, an investigative journalism program based at Arizona State University, found that veteran suicides across the United States increased from 2005 to 2011.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • 18-year-old killed; 72-year-old man, young boy injured

    Those involved in the wreck Friday near 136th Avenue and South Sooner Road were identified Monday by Oklahoma City police. Logan Rosado-Santoni, 18, was pronounced dead on the scene after the 4:30 p.m. multi-vehicle wreck. Two others were ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Norman firefighter performs Heimlich maneuver on Moore man after he chokes on food

    What started out as a normal night out for a Moore couple ended with them being thankful a firefighter was in the right place at the right time....

    July 22, 2014

  • New AP program to begin in Norman

    NORMAN — Norman Public Schools Board of Education learned about Advanced Placement Capstone at a regular board meeting Monday....

    July 22, 2014

  • Moore City Council paves way for Sam’s Club location

    MOORE — The Moore City Council approved a $5 million bond Tuesday to be repaid with sales tax and utility revenues. “A good amount of street improvements needs to be done,” Moore City Manager Steve Eddy said. “This will be paid for with ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Crime briefs

    Woman charged with assault A Norman woman was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon Monday after admitting that she threw a knife at someone, court records show. Jamie Marie Rietz, 32, was charged in Cleveland County ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Jeremy Ryan Sellers, 20, second-degree burglary and malicious injury to property under $1,000 in concert and together with Ryan ...

    July 22, 2014

  • County want details of insurance coverage

    Cleveland County commissioners will formally request particulars on their insurance coverage from the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma Self Insurance Group....

    July 22, 2014

  • Stewart journeys from volunteer to director at Women’s Resource Center

    Kristy Stewart walked into the Women’s Resource Center as a volunteer 30 years ago. The volunteer work soon turned into a staff position, and that one into another and another and so on. Along with the new responsibilities came her ...

    July 21, 2014

  • garnervisit1 Family, friends recall Garner’s Norman roots

    Flowers started arriving at the James Garner statue at Main Street and Jones Avenue Sunday morning after residents learned of the famed actor and Norman native’s death Saturday night in California. Norman resident Roy Hamilton, who grew ...

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • James Garner James Garner dies at 86

    NEW YORK — Few actors could register disbelief, exasperation or annoyance with more comic subtlety....

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos