Combat Vets In College, High Suicide Risk

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) — Nearly half of U.S. military veterans currently in college report thinking of suicide and 20 percent said they had planned to kill themselves, researchers say.

Lead author M. David Rudd of the National Center for Veterans’ Studies at the University of Utah and colleagues analyzed survey results gathered this year from 525 veterans — 415 males and 110 females — with an average age of 26.

Ninety-eight percent had been deployed in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan and 58 percent to 60 percent reported they had experienced combat, Rudd says.

Seventy-seven percent were Caucasian, 7 percent African-American, 12 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Asian-American and 1 percent American Indian — a distribution similar to that of all U.S veterans, Rudd says.

The study found 46 percent of respondents indicated suicidal thinking at some point during their lifetime; 20 percent reported suicidal thoughts with a plan; 10.4 percent reported thinking of suicide very often; 7.7 percent reported a suicide attempt and 3.8 percent reported a suicide attempt was either likely or very likely.

The study findings were significantly higher than American College Health Association data concerning university students in general, which showed 6 percent of college students reported seriously considering suicide and 1.3 percent reported a suicide attempt.

The findings were presented at the American Psychological Association’s 119th annual convention in Washington.

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