Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details

International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board Member: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

6 Issues per year


SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.346
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.310
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.660

Online
ISSN
2191-0278
See all formats and pricing
Volume 25, Issue 3 (Sep 2013)

Issues

Educating medical professionals about suicide prevention among military veterans

Debora Ganz
  • Ferkauf Graduate School of Clinical Psychology, Yeshiva University, NY, USA
/ Leo Sher
  • Corresponding author
  • James J. Peters Veterans’ Administration Medical Center, NY, USA
  • Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY, USA
  • Email:
Published Online: 2013-07-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2013-0051

Abstract

The aim of this paper was to discuss the results of a review of literature related to suicide in military veteran populations. Suicide in veteran populations has been increasing in recent years, and continues to be a medical and social problem across the globe. For medical health professionals, knowledge of the risk factors for suicide, careful assessment, and appropriate interventions are key to suicide prevention. The main aim of this review is to better understand the risk factors present in veteran suicide and find ways by which to educate medical professionals in suicide prevention. Key suicide risk factors found in veteran populations include posttraumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, physical injuries, substance use disorders, traumatic brain injury, combat-related guilt, access to firearms, and insufficient social support. Some psychosocial difficulties are unique to veteran populations, and medical professionals should be culturally sensitive to these factors. Psychosocial changes upon discharge from active duty, as well as stigma against mental health disorders and treatment, should also be considered and assessed. Given that general practitioners may be the first line of defense for these veterans, they should be educated in risk factors for veteran suicide and proper assessment techniques. Any suicide risk in a veteran population should be taken very seriously, and responded to appropriately.

Keywords: education; major depressive disorder; military; posttraumatic stress disorder; suicide; veterans

References

  • 1.

    Injury prevention and control: data and statistics. Web-based injury statistics query and reporting system (WISQARS). National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC [serial on the Internet] 2005 [cited 2011 Sep 15]. Available from: URL: www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html.

  • 2.

    Weissman MM, Bland RC, Canino GJ, Greenwald S, Hwu HG, et al. Prevalence of suicide ideation and suicide attempts in nine countries. Psychol Med 1999;29:9–17. [PubMed] [Crossref]

  • 3.

    Corso PS, Mercy JA, Simon TR, Finkelstein EA, Miller TR. Medical costs and productivity losses due to interpersonal and self-directed violence in the United States. Am J Prev Med 2007;32:474–82. [Web of Science]

  • 4.

    Posey S. Veterans and suicide: a review of potential increased risk [dissertation]. Northampton, MA: Smith College studies in social work 2009;79:368–74. Available from: URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00377310903131447. [Crossref]

  • 5.

    U.S. Department of Defense. U.S. Active Duty Military Deaths per 100.000 Serving, 1980–2006. Statistical Information Analysis Division 2007, February 28.

  • 6.

    While D, Kapur N. Suicide in veterans. In: Sher L, Vilens A, editors. War and suicide. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2011.

  • 7.

    Pompili M, Rigguci S, Di Cosmo D, Pugliese M, Pontremolesi S, et al. Suicide prevention in the army. In: Sher L, Vilens A, editors. Suicide in the military. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2011:57–70.

  • 8.

    Belik SL, Stein MB, Asmundson GJ, Sareen J. Are Canadian soldiers more likely to have suicidal ideation and suicide attempts than Canadian civilians? Am J Epidemiol 2010;172:1250–8. [Web of Science]

  • 9.

    Xu J, Kochaneck K, Murphy S, Tajada-Vera B. Deaths: final data for 2007. National Vital Statistics Reports [serial on the internet] 2010 May 20 [cited 2011 Sep 15]58. Available from: URL: http://www.cdc.gov/NCHS/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_19.pdf.

  • 10.

    Keteyian, A. Suicide epidemic among veterans. CBS News [serial on the internet] 2009 Feb 11 [cited 2011 Sep 15]. Available from: URL: http://bit.ly/qTuTut.

  • 11.

    Pietrzak RH, Southwick SM. Psychological resilience in OEF-OIF Veterans: application of a novel classification approach and examination of demographic and psychosocial correlates. J Affect Disord 2011;133:560–8. [Web of Science]

  • 12.

    Kessler RC, Berglund P, Borges G, Nock M, Wang PS. Trends in suicide ideation, plans, gestures, and attempts in the United States, 1990–1992 to 2001–2003. J Am Med Assoc 2005;293:2487–95.

  • 13.

    American Psychiatric Association (APA). Practice guideline for the psychiatric evaluation of adults. 2nd ed. Washington (DC): American Psychiatric Association (APA), 2006.

  • 14.

    Kohn R, Levav I, Chang B, Halperin B, Zadka P. Epidemiology of youth suicide in Israel. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatr 1996;36:1537–42.

  • 15.

    Pietrzak RH, Goldstein MB, Malley JC, Rivers AJ, Johnson DC, et al. Risk and protective factors associated with suicidal ideation in veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. J Affect Disord 2010;123:102–7. [Web of Science]

  • 16.

    Sundararaman R, Panangala SV, Lister SA. Suicide prevention among veterans. CRS Report for the U.S. Congress, RL34471. May 2008.

  • 17.

    Iversen A, Nikolaou V, Greenberg N, Unwin C, Hull L, et al. What happens to British veterans when they leave the armed forces? Eur J Public Health 2005;15:175–84. [Crossref] [PubMed]

  • 18.

    Iversen A, Dyson C, Smith N, Greenberg N, Walwyn R, et al. “Goodbye and good luck”: the mental health needs and treatment experiences of British discharged personnel. Br J Psychiatry 2005;186:480–6.

  • 19.

    Hendin H, Haas AP. Suicide and guilt as manifestations of PTSD in Vietnam combat veterans. Am J Psychiatry 1991;148:586–91.

  • 20.

    Joiner TE. Why people die by suicide. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005.

  • 21.

    Hassinger AD. Mentoring and monitoring: the use of unit watch in the 4th Infantry Division. Mil Med 2003;168:234–8.

  • 22.

    Monteith L, Green K, Mathew A, Pettit JW. The interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behaviors as an explanation of suicide among war veterans. In: Sher L, Vilens A, editors. War and suicide. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2011.

  • 23.

    Facts and figures, National Statistics. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention [serial on the Internet] 2008 [cited 2001 Sep 15]. Available from: URL: www.afsp.org/index.cfm?fuseaction#equal#home.viewpage&page_id#equal#050FEA9F-B064-4092-B1135C3A70DE1FDA.

  • 24.

    Bullman TA, Kang HK. The risk of suicide among wounded Vietnam veterans. Am J Public Health 1996;86:662–7. [Web of Science]

  • 25.

    Simpson G, Tate R. Suicidality in people surviving a traumatic brain injury: prevalence, risk factors and implications for clinical management. Brain Inj 2007;21:1335–51. [PubMed] [Web of Science] [Crossref]

  • 26.

    Mann JJ, Apter A, Bertolote J, Beautrais A, Currier D, et al. Suicide prevention strategies. A systematic review. J Am Med Assoc 2005;294:2064–74.

  • 27.

    Prins A, Ouimette PC, Kimerling R, Cameron RP, Hugelshofer DS, et al. The Primary Care PTSD Screen (PC-PTSD): development and operating characteristics. Prim Care Psychiatr 2004;9:9–14.

  • 28.

    Moscick EK. Identification of suicide risk factors using epidemiologic studies. Psychiatr Clin North Am 1997;20:499–517. [Crossref]

  • 29.

    Meijer M, Weerts J. Suicide among Veterans: research, models, and sata. In: RTO-MP-HFM-108. RTO HFM Symposium on NATO Medical Surveillance and Response, Research and Technology Opportunities and Options, 2004 April 19–21;Budapest, Hungary; 2004. RTO-MP-HFM-108:1–16.

About the article

Corresponding author: Leo Sher, MD, James J. Peters Veterans’ Administration Medical Center, 130 West Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, NY, USA, Phone: +1-718-584-9000 x 6821, Fax: +1-718-741-4703


Received: 2011-11-22

Accepted: 2011-12-28

Published Online: 2013-07-23

Published in Print: 2013-09-01


Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, ISSN (Print) 0334-0139, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2013-0051. Export Citation

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in