Soldier suicide may reflect rising mental illness rates

A study conducted by the US Naval Health Research Centre, San Diego, found male sex and mental health problems including depression, bipolar disorder and alcohol dependence were associated with an increased risk of suicide among former and current military personnel in the years 2001 to 2008.

However, combat exposure was not an independent factor.

Better psychiatric and substance use screening may arrest suicide rates which are increasing in the military, they concluded.

JAMA 2013; 310:484-85