Study: New Screening System Could Reduce Military Suicides

The New York Times (11/13, Carey, Subscription Publication) reports that a study published Wednesday by the journal JAMA Psychiatry says that suicides among soldiers with psychiatric conditions could be reduced “by using a new screening system that flags those at highest risk of taking their own lives, a new study suggests.” The computer program, which “rates more than 20 actuarial factors, including age at enlistment, history of violence, and prescription medication use,” would be the most rigorous suicide prediction model available, if it performs as expected in real-world settings.” It would “allow doctors to follow high-risk soldiers closely after discharge, and to take preventive measures.”

USA Today reports that for the study, investigators “examined the records of nearly 54,000 soldiers hospitalized from 2004 to 2009, less than 1% of the Army.” The researchers “found 12% of Army suicides occurred within a portion of the 54,000 — those who had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and released from hospital care within the previous 12 months.” When the investigators “delved even deeper in that group, they identified soldiers who were extremely prone to suicide, with a rate as high as 3,824 per 100,000.”

Related Links:

— “Risk Model Seen as Reducing Military Suicides,” Benedict Carey, New York Times, November 12, 2014.

Posted in In The News.