CHA News Article

Army-NIMH Funded Study Examines Suicide Rates in the Military

The Department of Health and Human Services has published the largest study of mental health risk and resilience ever conducted among U.S. military personnel. Funded by the U.S. Army and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the study examines suicide attempts and deaths in a series of three JAMA Psychiatry articles. Findings include: The rise in suicide deaths from 2004 to 2009 occurred not only in currently and previously deployed soldiers, but also among soldiers never deployed; nearly half of soldiers who reported suicide attempts indicated their first attempt was prior to enlistment; and soldiers reported higher rates of certain mental disorders than civilians, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), intermittent explosive disorder (recurrent episodes of extreme anger or violence), and substance use disorder.

Historically, the suicide death rates in the U.S. Army have been below the civilian rate, but the Army suicide rate began climbing in the early 2000s, and by 2008 it exceeded the demographically matched civilian rate by about 1 percent. Concerns about the increase led to a partnership between the Army and the NIMH to identify risks. For more information about the study, visit www.nih.gov/news/health/mar2014/nimh-03.htm.

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