Suicide Amongst Those Without a Mental Health Diagnosis

Posted on September 8, 2018

A recent finding suggests that more than 33% of U.S. Army soldiers do not have a history of mental illness.

While the rate of attempted suicide amongst veterans have increased in recent years due to increased U.S. involvement in the Middle East, there has not been a special focus paid to those who attempt suicide without presenting with a prior mental illness history. In fact, the recent study found that as much as 36% of soldiers who attempt suicide do not have a history of mental illness.

This does not mean that these soldiers did not have mental illnesses, but rather, it could have meant that it was not brought to the attention to medical personnel. The reasons for this could be a lack of awareness that a problem existed, or that they were worried about the repercussions and stigma they could face if they reported, or simply feeling that reporting would not do much good.

Some factors unique to the challenges of military service do appear to increase the risk of attempted suicide even amongst soldiers with no prior history of mental illness. These include:

• Soldiers in their first year of service
• Veterans with previous deployments
• Work stress
• Soldiers who had their promotions delayed or were demoted
• Previous combat injuries
• Soldiers recently treated for physical injuries
• Female soldiers had a 2.6x higher rate of attempted suicide than male soldiers

It is not the intention of this study to examine the impact of a mental health diagnosis on the likelihood of suicide, but rather, to raise awareness that there are plenty of military personnel, and even civilians, who may be suffering unbeknownst to others and would benefit from increased accessibility to mental health services. It is therefore imperative that mental health services be expanded to other areas aside from primary mental health clinics so that it will be easier for people to get the care they need.

Category(s):Complex PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD, Suicide Prevention

Source material from Reuters