Addressing the prevalence of suicide among veterans has become a priority for many members of the military community, and a recent report from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) indicates there's more work to be done. The VA inspector general says that as many as one-third of veterans deemed to be at a high risk for suicide do not attend follow-up appointments with mental health professionals, Military Times reports.
The study was based on an analysis of 215 cases reviewed during several months in 2012. Researchers found that 65 of the patients did not have the recommended four visits with a mental healthcare professional in the 30 days after being discharged from the hospital. Making the findings even more troubling is the fact that there was a lack of follow up on the part of healthcare providers even in the case of missed appointments.
The report mentioned that staff failed to document whether their were follow-up attempts for around 8 percent of patients who missed appointments.
This isn't the first time the VA has encountered criticism for the way it treats mental health conditions. In fact, a report released earlier this year determined that veterans seeking mental health treatment have to wait an average of 50 days for an appointment, according to Stars and Stripes.