September 5, 2018
Previous combat injuries were also associated with a 60 percent higher risk of suicide attempts among soldiers without a history of mental illness.
(Reuters Health) - More than one-third of U.S. Army soldiers who attempt suicide don’t have a history of mental health problems, a recent study suggests.
Attempted suicides have become more common among enlisted soldiers since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, researchers note in JAMA Psychiatry. While a history of mental illness has long been linked to an increased risk of suicide among military service members and civilians alike, less is known about the risk among soldiers who haven’t been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders.
For the current study, researchers examined data on 9,650 active-duty Army soldiers who attempted suicide between 2004 and 2009 as well as a control group of more than 153,000 soldiers who didn’t attempt suicide.
Overall, 3,507, or 36 percent, of the soldiers who attempted suicide had no previous diagnosis of mental illness, the study found.
“Soldiers without a mental health diagnosis may have had mental health problems but had not reported them to their medical care teams,” said lead author Dr. Robert Ursano, director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.
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