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Am J Public Health. 2012 Mar;102 Suppl 1:S125-30. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300415. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

Differences between veteran suicides with and without psychiatric symptoms.

Author information

  • 1VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention, Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Canandaigua, NY 14424, USA. peter.britton@va.gov

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Our objective was to examine all suicides (n = 423) in 2 geographic areas of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) over a 7-year period and to perform detailed chart reviews on the subsample that had a VHA visit in the last year of life (n = 381).

METHODS:

Within this sample, we compared a group with 1 or more documented psychiatric symptoms (68.5%) to a group with no such symptoms (31.5%). The groups were compared on suicidal thoughts and behaviors, somatic symptoms, and stressors using the χ(2) test and on time to death after the last visit using survival analyses.

RESULTS:

Veterans with documented psychiatric symptoms were more likely to receive a suicide risk assessment, and have suicidal ideation and a suicide plan, sleep problems, pain, and several stressors. These veterans were also more likely to die in the 60 days after their last visit.

CONCLUSIONS:

Findings indicated presence of 2 large and distinct groups of veterans at risk for suicide in the VHA, underscoring the value of tailored prevention strategies, including approaches suitable for those without identified psychiatric symptoms.

PMID:
22390586
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3496441
Free PMC Article

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