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The Source: The Fight Against Military Suicides

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U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th MPAD
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With more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. saw an incredible spike in the number of suicides in its active-duty servicemen and women as well as veterans. At one point, as the wars wound down, the number of suicides was outpacing deaths from enemy combatants in the U.S. military.

Undoubtedly, the rise in awareness of military suicide, along with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has made an impact in the lives of veterans and active-duty soldiers. There is still a lot to learn about strategies and interventions to prevent suicide and ease the burden of PTSD.

A lot of this research is happening here in San Antonio, at STRONG STAR.

To that end a recent study set out to test one strategy on reducing suicide among those at a high risk. In a 2-year study, researchers used cognitive behavioral therapy in addition to therapy administered on a group of 152 active-duty soldiers who had attempted suicide.

The results? Researchers saw a 60 percent drop in suicide attempts for those utilizing CBT from those in the control group. 

The article was published this month in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Guest:

  • Dr. Alan Peterson, Director of STRONG STAR, a collaboration of institutions and researchers working on PTSD and professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive