Suicide Incidence and Risk Factors in an Active Duty US Military Population
The goal of this study was to investigate and identify risk factors for suicide among all active duty members of the US military during 2005 or 2007. The study used a cross-sectional design and included the entire active duty military population. Study sample sizes were 2,064,183 for 2005 and 1,981,810 for 2007. Logistic regression models were used. Suicide rates for all services increased during this period. Mental health diagnoses, mental health visits, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), sleep prescriptions, reduction in rank, enlisted rank, and separation or divorce were associated with suicides. Deployments to Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom were also associated with elevated odds ratios for all services in the 2007 population and for the Army in 2005. Additional research needs to address the increasing rates of suicide in active duty personnel. This should include careful evaluation of suicide prevention programs and the possible increase in risk associated with SSRIs and other mental health drugs, as well as the possible impact of shorter deployments, age, mental health diagnoses, and relationship problems.