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WASHINGTON (AP) – The Department of Veterans Affairs says that an average of 20 veterans a day committed suicide in 2014, a slight decrease from a previous government estimate for 2010.

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But federal health officials are cautious about concluding the problem has lessened.

Rather, they say the Department of Veterans Affairs is relying on a more comprehensive database than ever before, making comparisons to prior studies difficult. The prior study had projected 22 veteran suicides a day.

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The latest data shows that even though large numbers of veterans have returned from the stresses of war in the Middle East, older veterans continue to bear a heavy burden. About two-thirds of all veterans committing suicide were 50 and over.

Also, the suicide rate among female veterans was more than twice that for female civilians.

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