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Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2017 Dec;47(6):723-728. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12318. Epub 2016 Dec 15.

Under Reporting of Suicide Ideation in US Army Population Screening: An Ongoing Challenge.

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Department of Counseling and School Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA.
Office of Research and Development, South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, TX, USA.
Department of Psychology, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA.


Previous research in US Army Soldiers shows rates of mental health concerns as two to four times higher on anonymous surveys than on postdeployment health assessments. In this study, Soldiers presenting for health reassessment completed two questionnaires on suicide risk factors: one linked to the health assessment and one anonymous. About 5.1% of respondents reported suicide ideation on the anonymous questionnaire, 3.0% on the linked questionnaire, and 0.9% on the health reassessment. About 56.4% who reported suicide ideation anonymously told nobody of their thoughts. Current screening procedures identify only one in seven Soldiers experiencing suicide ideation and highlight the need for alternative risk-detection strategies.

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