July 26, 2017
Army soldiers in a unit with five or more suicide attempts in the past year were twice as likely to attempt suicide, compared with peers in units with no attempts.
“The suicide attempt rate among U.S. Army soldiers increased substantially during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars,” Robert J. Ursano, MD, of Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and colleagues wrote. “Medically documented [suicide attempts] are more likely to occur among soldiers never or previously deployed (vs. currently deployed) and soldiers who are female, younger, non-Hispanic white, less educated, and in the early stages of army service, particularly the initial months of training. The risk of [suicide attempt] may also be influenced by events within a soldier’s army unit, including suicidal behavior of other unit members.”