Saturday, May 28, 2016

Research Looks At Suicide Among Deployed and Non-Deployed Soldiers

Several things to consider when reading the following. All military forces are "trained in prevention" after being going through medical and psychological testing. If that training did not work on the non-deployed to prevent suicide, then how did they expect it to work on those with multiple deployments? The data researchers were looking at in this study is not new. With the reduction of force size in the Army has gone down, why hasn't the number of suicides been reduced accordingly? Above all, why hasn't the number of suicides reached that often quoted "One too many" the Army finds acceptable?
Suicide Attempts Among US Army Soldiers More Likely Before Combat: Study
Medical Daily
By Susan Scutti
May 27, 2016

"The study looked at a total of 163,178 enlisted soldiers. Of these, 9,650 had attempted suicide: 86.3 percent were men, 68.4 percent were younger than 30"
Over the past decade, suicide attempts have increased in the United States Army. Despite the issue's urgency, little has been done to understand these failed attempts at self-destruction. New research from Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences suggests enlisted soldiers never deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan were at greatest risk of a suicide attempt, particularly in their second month of service.
Never-deployed soldiers were at highest risk of a suicide attempt between 2004 and 2009 of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Reuters
“The higher risk among ND soldiers in their second month of service, a stressful time during basic training and Army acculturation, reinforces the importance of developing and evaluating effective risk detection and intervention strategies early in a soldier’s career,” noted the researchers. “Whether this risk pattern was associated with expanded Army recruitment during war or anticipated deployments or is a persistent pattern of risk among soldiers in training remains to be determined.”

The team also discovered soldiers on their first deployment were most at risk for a suicide attempt during their sixth month of deployment, while previously deployed soldiers were most at risk five months after they returned from the warzone.

“Understanding how people go from health, to suicide ideation, to suicide plans, to suicide attempts, to completed suicide will help us help those at risk and those who are distressed but do not complete suicide,” Dr. Robert J. Ursano, lead author, told Medical Daily.

Among soldiers with one previous deployment, odds of a suicide attempt were higher among those who screened positive for depression or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after their return and particularly at follow-up screening, about four to six months after deployment.
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