Mental health and suicide among military personnel

8/5/2014 feature story

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Mick P. Couper
Steven Heeringa
Trivellore Raghunathan

Project Information:

Modifiable Risk and Protective Factors for Suicidal Behaviors in the US Army

U-M researchers are collaborating with researchers at the Uniformed Services University, Harvard, and Columbia to identify the correlates and precursors of suicide, suicide attempts, and other mental health problems among members of the US Army. The research, which encompasses active-duty Army personnel across all phases of service, uses multi-modal data collections conducted across time. These include: self-administered computerized assessments for all new Army recruits that carry forward for 3 years of service; saliva samples; web- and telephone-based interviews for a cross-section of all Army personnel; on-going web- and phone-based panel interviews with family and friends of selected Army respondents; in-depth clinical interviews with family and friends of service members who died; and in-person interviews with a subset of respondents believed to be at high risk of suicide. Investigators are also conducting a retrospective case-control analysis in which individual soldiers who have attempted suicide with or without fatal outcomes will be matched with individuals with similar demographic characteristics to provide clues to risk and protective factors. Michigan researchers are involved in all aspects of the project, including overall design, instrument development and testing (including programming of all computer-assisted questionnaires and sample management systems), actual data collection across all components, and data documentation, analysis, and archiving.

Steven Heeringa, Mick P. Couper, Trivellore Raghunathan

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