Study Suggests No Link Between War Zone Deployment, High Risk Of Suicide

USA Today (4/2, Zoroya) reports that a “massive study” conducted by the Defense Department’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state and published online April 1 in JAMA Psychiatry suggests there is “no link between being deployed in or near a war zone and a high risk of suicide.” Researchers, who focused on “3.9 million US troops who served during the first six years after” the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, “found almost no difference between the suicide rates of those who deployed versus those who did not.”

The New York Times (4/2, A15, Philipps, Subscription Publication) reports that the study “also tracked suicides of military personnel after they left the military, by linking records kept by the Pentagon and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” The authors of the study and other experts “cautioned, however, that the findings do not rule out combat exposure as a reason for the increase in suicides, adding that more information was needed.” Michael Schoenbaum, “a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health who led a 2014 study on suicides in the Army,” said, “You can be deployed without being in combat.” He added, “This data set wasn’t able to sort people by their exposure to the physical acts of war. That is the next step.”

Related Links:

— “Study: No link between suicide and serving in or near war zones,” Gregg Zoroya, USA Today, April 1, 2015.

Posted in In The News.