Year: 2022 Source: Military Behavioral Health. (2021). Published online 14 December 2021. DOI: 10.1080/21635781.2021.2013350 SIEC No: 20220132

United States veteran suicide rates have increased over the past two decades. Designations of service-connected disabilities (designations tied to injury during military service) are also increasing, especially those associated with mental health disorders. However, recent research around disability and suicide in veterans is mixed, and no research has been completed on the association between disability and mental health service utilization. The current study hoped to fill these gaps in the literature with a secondary data analysis of a sample of 36,048 Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA) veterans. Mental health disorders and demographics were controlled for in a logistic regression model predicting suicide attempt status by the intersection of service-connected disability and mental health care utilization. Mental health service visits moderated the positive relationship between service-connected disability designations and suicide attempts; those who utilized services were less likely to attempt suicide, especially those at higher service-connected disability designations with mental health disorders. The results suggest individuals who have disability designations that also seek help are less likely to make a suicide attempt. The study was limited by scope of the sample (only VHA veterans with service connected disabilities). Results have implications for preventative interventions in the VHA/Veterans Benefits Administration.