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Every year the Academy of United States Veterans identified the most vital issues that members of our veterans and American community face in their daily lives. This year, we have made inclusiveness, diversity and equality to be the focus of our mission. United Colors of America campaign will highlight the crucial need for community unity and collaboration for a better, fairer and more sustainable future for all Americans, not just our veterans.

LGBT

An estimated one million Veterans identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender. Studies reveal LGBT Veterans accessing VA services were more likely to screen positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and alcohol misuse than non-LGBT Veterans. Veterans who could not or did not serve openly in the military or concealed their sexual orientation while in service were associated with higher rates of depression and PTSD.

It is a must to fight for full federal equality for LGBT Americans. We believe through activism and advocacy we can support LGBT youth, parents, and elders; honor the military service of LGBT Americans, and promote human rights of LGBT individuals not only in America and not just of our veterans, yet around the world for all citizens of the world.

WOMEN

Women veterans use VA mental health services more intensively than men for a variety of conditions including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Suicide rates are 2.5 times higher than women in the general population, and that rate has accelerated twice as fast as male veterans (62% vs. 30%) since 2001.

One in four women veterans reported they suffered sexual trauma while serving in the military, putting them at increased risk for depression, substance abuse and PTSD. A recent VA Inspector General Report found that VA continues to make administrative errors processing claims for disability compensation due to MST-related PTSD, incorrectly denying these claims.

At AUSV, we believe believe that issues that affect women’s lives (not only women veterans) are family issues, economic issues, and crucial to the future and health of our communities across the nation.

SUICIDE PREVENTION

About 40,000 people die by suicide in the United States each year, and women account for 23 percent of these deaths.

From 1999 through 2014, the percent increase in the age-adjusted suicide rate was greater for women (45 percent increase) than men (16 percent increase). During this period, the suicide rate for women in the United States has increased in all age groups under 75.

In 2016, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of nearly 45,000 people. (CDC)

It important to know the connections that mental health conditions and substance use disorders have to suicide. Let’s not forget harassment, bullying, and discrimination. Suicide can leave a lasting mark on the hearts and minds of countless people in our communities.