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June 2015 Connect with us Facebook Twitter Sign up  |  Archive  |  Advertise
Editor's e-Note
Military suicide has become a major challenge facing the mental health community in the past decade and tracing the causes hasn’t been easy. But a recent study from the University of Utah has shown that exposure to killing and death and not merely deployment and exposure to combat trauma is connected to suicide risk. The study grew out of a professor’s personal experience with the suicide of a friend and colleague, and this professor has also found that self-forgiveness protects against suicide attempts. Read more about the research in this month’s e-news exclusive.

We welcome your comments at Visit our website at, join our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.

— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
Dealing With Death in Deployment

A University of Utah study is the first to provide clear insight into contributing factors to suicide risk among military personnel and veterans who have deployed.

The study, published in the journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, found that exposure to killing and death while deployed is connected to suicide risk. Previous studies that looked solely at the relationship between deployment and suicide risk without assessing for exposure to killing and death have shown inconsistent results.

“Many people assume that deployment equals exposure to specific forms of combat trauma, but the two are not equivalent,” says Craig Bryan, psychology professor, director of the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University and lead author of the paper. “By looking specifically at exposure to death while deployed, it became clear that deployment itself does not increase risk for suicide because not all who are deployed are exposed to death and atrocity.”

Part of the confusion from previous studies can be attributed to the variability in participant group sizes, where small differences in outcomes could appear very different. The University paper analyzed data from 22 studies, totaling 2.7 million participants from multiple eras and across nations, making it the most comprehensive evaluation ever conducted on this topic.

By reviewing these studies in aggregate, the researchers found much more consistency across data than the individual findings suggested.

Full Story »
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