246823 Suicide among Homeless Veterans, 20002008

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:46 AM

Robert M. Bossarte, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Vincent Kane, MSW , National Center on Homelessness among Veterans, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Philadelphia, PA
John Schinka, PhD , National Center on Homelessness among Veterans, Tampa, FL
Stephen Metraux, MA, PhD , Department of Health Policy & Public Health, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
John F. McCarthy, PhD, MPH , SMITREC; Department of Psychiatry, Veterans Affairs; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Wes Kasprow, PhD , Homeless Programs, VA Northeast Program Evaluation Center, West Haven, CT
Homelessness, both among Veterans and in the overall population, is a significant contributor to premature mortality generally as well as for specific causes of death including substance abuse, cardiopulmonary disease, cancer, and suicide. For example, the risk for suicide among homeless populations has been estimated to be two (males) to five (females) times higher than among those who are not homeless. And while links between homelessness and preventable mortality have been well documented, little is known about the specific mechanisms that lead to this association; whether Veteran status mitigates or exacerbates this association; and whether this association can be modified by provision of medical, psychiatric, social and housing services provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This information is needed to guide the development of effective programs and to reduce the burden of preventable mortality among members of this vulnerable population. The proposed presentation will provide results from a study of suicide mortality among Veterans who have received VA services between the years 2000-2008. Data for this project were obtained from two sources: (1) intake assessments of homeless Veterans or those at high risk for suicide and (2) all-cause mortality data obtained from the National Death Index. The crude rate of suicide among homeless Veterans was 43.8 per 100,000 assessments (2000-2008) - approximately 10% higher than the rate of suicide among Veterans who were not homeless. Results from these analyses and consideration of the policy and service implications of the current will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Identify the relationships between housing status (i.e. place of residence at date of last homeless assessment) and risk for suicide attempt List outcomes (i.e. hospitalization, referral to outpatient care, repeat homeless assessment) among veterans with history of at least one reported suicide attempt

Keywords: Suicide, Homeless

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a longstanding researcher in the area of suicide and a staff member of a VA Center of Excellence focusing on suicide prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.