Study Suggests “Hidden Epidemic” of Suicide Among Female Veterans

The academic journal Psychiatric Services recently published the first large-scale study of suicide among female veterans.  The results of the study are cause for concern.  The study revealed that female veterans are more likely than female civilians to commit suicide.  The study divided the women into 3 age groups: 18-34, 35-44, and 45-64.  The youngest group of female veterans – those aged 18 to 34 – had the highest rate of suicide and largest difference in rate of suicide from nonveterans among the three age groups.  The study found that female veterans age 18 to 34 are three times more likely to die by suicide than their civilian counterparts.  Notably, the study showed that while the suicide rate decreases with age among veterans, it increases with age among nonveterans – though the rate remains higher with veterans than with civilians across the board.  The researchers suggest that these findings show a hidden epidemic of suicide among younger women with military service.  As the number of females in the military continues to increase, an increased suicide rate among young veterans is particularly alarming.  The study’s authors suggest that suicide prevention be tailored to female veterans.      

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