The VA has also set up a special suicide hotline specifically aimed at veterans, accessed toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK.
Still, some improvements could be made, Brown added.
"While the VA have both mental health programs set up and substance abuse programs, they need to have ways of merging the two programs so that veterans who have both disorders get [coordinated] treatment," he said.
A veteran's family and friends can help, too.
"Families should take any comments about suicide or 'life is not worth living' seriously," Brown said. "They shouldn't pass it off as just somebody being upset."
"The key thing is to talk to people," she said. "It's hard to know without conversation what someone is thinking."
For more about suicide and depression, visit the American Association of Suicidology.
SOURCES: Kara Zivin, Ph.D., Veterans Administration investigator, and assistant professor, department of psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Marcia Valenstein, M.D., assistant professor in the department of psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Charles Goodstein, M.D., psychiatrist, New York University Medical Center, and professor, medicine, NYU School of Medicine, New York City; Gregory Brown, Ph.D., research associate professor, department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Oct. 30, 2007, American Journal of Public Health, online
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