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Nearly 300 veterans in Arizona committed suicide in 2016, report finds

(Flickr/U.S. Army Europe)

PHOENIX — Veterans in Arizona committed suicide at a rate that was nearly three times higher than the state’s non-veterans in 2016, a recent Arizona State University report found.

According to the university, 277 veterans in Arizona committed suicide in 2016, an average of two suicides every three days.

In comparison, there were 877 suicides across the state in 2016, the ASU Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety found.

The center determined the death rates based off the number of suicides per 100,000 people. According to the U.S. Census, there were about 505,000 veterans living in Arizona last year.

The suicide rates among both male and female veterans were both nearly three times as high as male and female non-veterans.

The suicide rate among male veterans was 57.7 per 100,000, compared to 20.8 per 100,000 for non-veterans. The suicide rate among female veterans was 21.6 per 100,000, compared to 7.3 for non-veterans.

Four counties in Arizona had suicide rates for veterans that were higher than the state average. Mohave, Graham, Navajo and Yavapai counties had suicide rates of 90.9, 83.4, 70.9 and 69.8, respectively, according to the university.

However, two counties in Arizona had veteran suicide rates of zero: Santa Cruz and Greenlee.

Maricopa and Pima counties, the state’s two most-populated counties, both had suicide rates among veterans that were below the state average.

Maricopa had a rate of 54.4 per 100,000, while Pima’s rate was at 42 per 100,000. It was the fourth-lowest in the state.

In a statement, criminology professor Charles Katz said the center collects data from police, medical examiners and the state to “shine the light on issues pertaining to veterans.”

“What we’re hoping to do is shine the light on veteran suicides and be able to help agencies allocate resources appropriately toward those locations or counties that need the most support and to hopefully focus that support on those veterans that deserve all of our help.”

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