In Midst Of A Suicide Crisis, VA Utilizes Algorithm To Try To Identify Those At Risk And Reach Out Before It’s Too Late
Since the Department of Veterans Affairs adopted the technology in 2017, about 250 fewer veterans have died by suicide than would have been expected based on the previous rate, according to the agency's estimates. It's not clear how big a role the algorithms played in the reported decline. Meanwhile, veterans exposed to a chemical weapon while fighting in Iraq are fighting to be recognized by the government.
How The VA Uses Algorithms To Predict Suicide
The Department of Veterans Affairs is using artificial intelligence to figure out which veterans are in critical need of mental health treatment as part of a massive effort to stem suicide in its ranks, a top priority of President Donald Trump and his VA leadership. A computer program scours millions of records for medications, treatment, traumatic events, overall health and other information, and based on prior experience, it plucks out the names of veterans most likely to die by suicide in the next year. Clinicians then reach out to them directly, sometimes before the patient has expressed suicidal thoughts to anyone. (Ravindranath, 6/25)
The New York Times:
Wounded By Chemical Weapons In Iraq, Veterans Fight A Lonely Battle For Help
On Dec. 2, 2005, three HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters hovered over the northern end of Camp Taji, Iraq, as a nine-man pararescue team on the ground moved toward rows of identical white warehouses during a training exercise. One of the pararescuemen doubled over and vomited, then fell to one knee. Two airmen moved to assist the man, dragging him up by his armpits. In one of the helicopters, a flight engineer, Staff Sgt. Annette Nellis, started coughing. Her skin began feeling itchy all over. Bile shot up from her stomach into her mouth. (Ismay, 6/26)