A new study finds deployment-related factors like combat experience or days deployed have little or no influence on suicide rates. KRCC's Andrea Chalfin has more from one doctor who's researching suicide in the military.
Doctor Craig Bryan is the Associate Director of the National Center for Veterans Studies in Utah, and is currently researching suicide intervention methods among soldiers at Fort Carson. Bryan says he’s not surprised by the results of the study, and says the military has been operating at a higher tempo for the past decade plus.
It’s kind of just overall levels of increased stress, as opposed to one particular source of stress. And I think that’s been the missing link is we’ve tried to focus in on one particular source of stress at the expense of all of these other well-established risk factors for suicide.
Bryan says though, it’s important not to discount a service member’s deployment or combat exposure.
That certainly is an important issue for many service members, it’s not to say that we should ignore it. But what we need to do is look at this from a more complex, kind of a higher level to understand that this is a bigger issue, and that from a prevention standpoint, if we kind of put all our eggs in one basket, we aren’t going to make much advances.
Bryan says this is the largest study of its kind. It was published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.