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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1999 Nov 26;48(46):1053-7.

Suicide prevention among active duty Air Force personnel--United States, 1990-1999.


During 1990-1994, suicide accounted for 23% of all deaths among active duty U.S. Air Force (USAF) personnel and was the second leading cause of death (after unintentional injuries) (Table 1). During those years, the annual suicide rate among active duty USAF personnel increased significantly (p<0.01) from 10.0 to 16.4 suicides per 100,000 members (Figure 1). In 1995, senior USAF leaders initiated prevention programs in several commands because of the increasing suicide rate. In May 1996, an in-depth study by a team of medical and nonmedical civilian and military experts was initiated to produce a comprehensive, communitywide prevention strategy that viewed suicide not only as a medical but a USAF problem, thus addressing overall social, behavior, and health issues (1). The plan was implemented across the entire USAF during 1996-1997. This report describes protective and prevention strategies and summarizes the study findings, which indicate that a substantial decline in the suicide rate was associated with the communitywide program.

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