Soldiers’ mental illnesses start prior to enlistment

The biggest study to date of mental health risk in the military shows 76% of US soldiers with current mental health disorders had onset prior to signing up, and nearly half of soldiers attempting suicide did so first as a civilian.

However, the research found the rate of major depression was five times higher, intermittent explosive disorder six times higher, and PTSD nearly 15 times higher, among soldiers than civilians.

Suicide was inversely related to rank and was highest among deployed compared to nondeployed soldiers, the authors said.