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Active-Duty Army Suicide Attempts Analyzed

时间: 2015年07月16日 | 作者: | 来源: 科学美国人

 

On average, every day one active-duty member of the military and 22 veterans commit suicide. And from 2005 to 2009, Army suicide attempts and suicides rose sharply. In an attempt to figure out how to focus early interventions, a team of researchers has pulled together data from various Army databases to analyze nearly 10,000 attempted suicides of active-duty Army personnel.

 

The first major point they make is that enlisted soldiers, not officers, attempt suicides at higher rates. Enlisted soldiers represent about 83 percent of the Army, but make up nearly 99 percent of the suicide attempts.

 

Narrowing in on the data, the researchers determined that females were more than twice as likely as males to attempt suicide. Also at higher risk: soldiers who entered the army at age 25 or older. And suicides were higher for those who’d never been deployed or those who were home from deployment than for those who were currently deployed.

 

Suicides were highest in the first two years of service, particularly the first year. And among soldiers who attempted suicide, more than half had received a mental health-related diagnosis in the previous month. The study is in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. [Robert J. Ursano et al, Suicide Attempts in the US Army During the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 2004 to 2009]

 

One limitation of the study, the researchers acknowledge, is that it only includes data from the Army’s own health care system. So it lacks information about suicides or attempts handled by civilian facilities, as well as unreported attempts. The study authors recommend that future research should focus on determining the individuals at greatest risk. This preliminary assessment could still help target assistance and prevention programs to soldiers who need it most.

 

—Cynthia Graber

 

(The above text is a transcript of this podcast)