Year: 2009 Source: PLoS Medicine, v.6, no.3, (March 2009), p.1-9 SIEC No: 20090004

The authors did a cohort study of ex-Armed Forces personnel by linking national databases of discharged personnel & suicide deaths (including deaths receiving either a suicide or undetermined verdict). Comparisons were made with both general & serving populations. During the study period, 1996-2005, 233,803 individuals left the Armed Forces & 224 died by suicide. Although the overall rate of suicide was not greter than that in the general population, the risk of suicide in men aged 24 & younger who had left the Armed Forces was approximately 2-3 times higher than the risk for the same groups in the general & serving populations. Risk may have been at its highest in the first 2 years following discharge. The risk of suicide was greatest in males, those who had served in the Army, those with a short length of service, & those of lower rank. The rate of contact with specialist mental health was lowest in the age groups at greatest risk of suicide. (33 refs.)