Military veteran mortality following a survived suicide attempt

Weiner, Janet; Richmond, Therese S.; Conigliaro, Joseph; Wiebe, Douglas J.
January 2011
BMC Public Health;2011 Supplement 4, Vol. 11 Issue Suppl 4, p374
Academic Journal
Background: Suicide is a global public health problem. Recently in the U.S., much attention has been given to preventing suicide and other premature mortality in veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. A strong predictor of suicide is a past suicide attempt, and suicide attempters have multiple physical and mental comorbidities that put them at risk for additional causes of death. We examined mortality among U.S. military veterans after hospitalization for attempted suicide. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted with all military veterans receiving inpatient treatment during 1993-1998 at United States Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities following a suicide attempt. Deaths occurring during 1993-2002, the most recent available year at the time, were identified through VA Beneficiary and Records Locator System data and National Death Index data. Mortality data for the general U.S. adult population were also obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics. Comparisons within the veteran cohort, between genders, and against the U.S. population were conducted with descriptive statistics and standardized mortality ratios. The actuarial method was used estimate the proportion of veterans in the cohort we expect would have survived through 2002 had they experienced the same rate of death that occurred over the study period in the U. S. population having the age and sex characteristics. Results: During 1993-1998, 10,163 veterans were treated and discharged at a VA medical center after a suicide attempt (mean age = 44 years; 91% male). There was a high prevalence of diagnosed alcohol disorder or abuse (31.8%), drug dependence or abuse (21.8%), psychoses (21.2%), depression (18.5%), and hypertension (14.2%). A total of 1,836 (18.1%) veterans died during follow up (2,941.4/100,000 person years). The cumulative survival probability after 10 years was 78.0% (95% CI = 72.9, 83.1). Hence the 10-year cumulative mortality risk was 22.0%, which was 3.0 times greater than expected. The leading causes overall were heart disease (20.2%), suicide (13.1%), and unintentional injury (12.7%). Whereas suicide was the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S. population overall (1.8%) during the study period, suicide was the leading and second leading cause among women (25.0%) and men (12.7%) in the cohort, respectively. Conclusions: Veterans who have attempted suicide face elevated risks of all-cause mortality with suicide being prominent. This represents an important population for prevention activities.


Related Articles

  • Men who have served in the armed forces at high risk of suicide.  // Nursing Standard;8/22/2007, Vol. 21 Issue 50, p17 

    The article discusses a study which examines the risk of mortality from suicide among male veteran participants. The study utilized data obtained from the National Health Interviews Surveys from 1986-1994 and linked to the National Death Index. The results showed that veterans who were white,...

  • A survivor's story: Say it out loud - "Suicide.". Martin, Sue // Vantage Point;Sep2016, p8 

    A blog on suicidal behavior of veterans is presented.

  • New APHA book gathers latest research on veterans, suicide. Tucker, Charlotte // Nation's Health;Apr2013, Vol. 43 Issue 3, p14 

    The article reviews the book "Veteran Suicide: A Public Health Imperative," published by the American Public Health Association (APHA).

  • Walk builds awareness of veteran suicide issues. PINEO, CHRISTOPHER S. // Navajo Times;11/19/2015, Vol. 54 Issue 46, pA5 

    The article offers information on the walk named Walk for the 22 - Four Corners nicknamed Ruck by the veterans organized by the a former staff sergeant in Marine Corps Myles Lytle to raise awareness of veteran suicide on November 14, 2015 on behalf of his fallen comrades.

  • A little can go a long way in suicide prevention. Green, Dan // Vantage Point;Sep2016, p13 

    The article focuses on the social campaign BeThere to raise awareness of suicide prevention among veterans in the U.S.

  • Suicide among male veterans: a prospective population-based study. Kaplan, Mark S.; Huguet, Nathalie; McFarland, Bentson H.; Newsom, Jason T. // Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health;Jul2007, Vol. 61 Issue 7, p619 

    Objectives: To assess the risk of mortality from suicide among male veteran participants in a large population-based health survey. Design and setting: A prospective follow-up study in the US. Data were obtained from the US National Health Interview Surveys 1986-94 and linked to the Multiple...

  • Suicide Risk Among Veterans Alarmingly High, According to Study. BURDETTE, WHITNEY // State Journal (WV);1/11/2013, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p4 

    The article reports on the study by Atlas Research and West Virginia University which reveals that 20% of the military veterans in the state are at risk for suicide.

  • Preventing Veteran suicide: a call to action. Shulkin, David // Vantage Point;Feb2016, p1 

    The article reports on the "Preventing Veteran Suicide: A Call to Action" summit that will be held on February 2, 2016 to find ways to help U.S. veterans and their families access appropriate mental health services.

  • A call to action: preventing Veteran suicides. Shulkin, David // Vantage Point;Feb2016, p1 

    The article reports on the "Preventing Veteran Suicide: A Call to Action" summit that will be held on February 2, 2016 to find ways to help U.S. veterans and their families access appropriate mental health services.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics