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October 2018

Suicide Prevention in the US Army: A Mission for More Than Mental Health Clinicians

Author Affiliations
  • 1Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington
  • 2Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle
  • 3Psychological Health Center of Excellence, Defense Health Agency, Tacoma, Washington
JAMA Psychiatry. 2018;75(10):991-992. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.2042

Suicide behaviors are frequently conceptualized as a mental health problem. There is certainly a substantial body of research indicating that various mental health disorders increase the risk of suicide and suicide attempts.1 Further, psychological autopsies conducted on those who died by suicide reveal mental health diagnoses in about 90% of cases.2 However, only half of the individuals who die by suicide are diagnosed as having a mental health disorder before their death.3 While the importance of psychiatric disorders to suicide behaviors is clear, together, these numbers also indicate that there is a considerable number of at-risk individuals who have not been identified and thus treated for an existing mental health disorder before suicide.

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