Predicting U.S. Army suicides after hospital discharge

November 12, 2014

Science Daily/Harvard Medical School

Some Army suicides can be predicted with enough accuracy to justify implementing preventive interventions in patients at high risk, experts say. The study looked at 53,769 regular Army soldiers during the 12-month period following their discharge from a psychiatric facility during 2004 to 2009. Hundreds of potential predictors of post-hospital suicide were abstracted from the extensive Army and Department of Defense administrative files that contain data on all soldiers.


"The high concentration of suicide risk in the 5 percent of highest-risk hospitalizations is striking," said lead author Ronald Kessler, McNeil Family Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. "The fact that nearly half of all highest-risk hospitalizations were followed by at least one adverse outcome -- either suicide, unintentional injury death, suicide attempt or rehospitalization -- argues strongly for developing expanded post-hospital preventive intervention services for these highest-risk soldiers."


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