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February 13, 2019

Suicide Reduction and Research Efforts in Service Members and Veterans—Sobering Realities

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Maryland
  • 2Office of the Army Surgeon General, Falls Church, Virginia
JAMA Psychiatry. 2019;76(5):464-466. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4564

The rate of death by suicide in the United States has risen 33% between 1999 and 2017, with a steeper climb in recent years and disproportionate increases in female and rural demographics. Particular concern has emerged for veterans, who experience a 50% higher incidence than the general adult population overall, with an 80% higher incidence in female veterans.1 Suicide incidence in service members is now comparable with the general population after decades of being significantly lower. These concerning trends have prompted an unprecedented expansion of suicide prevention, treatment, and research initiatives, with Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) leading the field.

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