“Trends in suicide rates by race and ethnicity among members of the United States Army” manuscript accepted by PLOS JournalsZachary Noriega, MPA | Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation/CU School of Medicine Jan 17, 2023
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa A. Brenner, PhD, firstname.lastname@example.org
AURORA, Colo. (January 17, 2023) – Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) for Suicide Prevention, including Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Lisa A. Brenner, PhD, ABPP; Associate Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Jeri E. Forster, PhD; Instructor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Kelly A. Stearns-Yoder, MA; and Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Claire A. Hoffmire, PhD, along with their colleagues at Boston University [Rachel Sayko Adams, PhD, MPH and Jaimie L. Gradus, DMSc, DSc, MPH], Brandeis University [Mary Jo Larson, PhD, MPA], and Vanderbilt University [Colin G. Walsh, MD, MA]) have had their publication titled “Trends in Suicide Rates by Race and Ethnicity among Members of the United States Army” accepted by PLOS Journals.
Researchers focused on identifying differences in suicide rates by race and ethnicity, and among age groups within racial and ethnic categories, among United States Army Soldiers who returned from deployment between October 2007 and September 2014. This retrospective cohort study was conducted using an existing longitudinal database, the Substance Use and Psychological Injury Combat Study (SUPIC). Demographic (e.g., race and ethnicity) and military data from the Department of Defense compiled within SUPIC, as well as Department of Veterans Affairs data, were linked with National Death Index records (through 2018) to identify deaths by suicide including those that occurred after military service. The cohort included 860,930 Army Service members (Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve).
Looking at subgroups (e.g., by age and race), the team was able to identify key cohorts at risk who may not have been identified if subgroups had been collapsed. For example, among those aged 18-29, the suicide rate for American Indian and Alaska Native individuals was 1.51 times higher than that of White non-Hispanic individuals, and lower for Hispanic and Black non-Hispanic individuals than White non-Hispanic individuals. However, overall post-deployment (≤6.5 years) hazard rates for suicide significantly increased among Hispanic (12.1% annual percent change [APC]) and Black non-Hispanic individuals (11.4% APC) with a smaller, yet significant, 3.1% APC for White non-Hispanic individuals.
According to Dr. Lisa Brenner, Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Director of the Rocky Mountain MIRECC, and one of the lead authors of the study, “findings highlight the importance of looking at race and ethnicity by age over time, as well as the need to explore culturally relevant suicide prevention strategies.”
About the CU Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation:
The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado is at the forefront of using team science, regenerative medicine, and exercise treatments. It is uniquely situated in the state-of-the-art CU Anschutz Medical Campus, the first campus in the nation to be built from ground up to bring research, education, and patient care into one visionary collaboration. We combine the disciplines of rehabilitation medicine, physical therapy, psychology, speech/language therapy, and rehabilitation sciences into a singular department.
About the Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) for Suicide Prevention:
The mission of the Rocky Mountain MIRECC is to study suicide with the goal of reducing suicidal ideation and behaviors in the Veteran population. Towards this end, the work of the Rocky Mountain MIRECC is focused on promising clinical interventions, as well as the cognitive and neurobiological underpinnings of suicidal thoughts and behaviors that may lead to innovative prevention strategies. The vision of the Rocky Mountain MIRECC is to increase information and treatment options available to Veterans, their families and the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) so that care decisions and care provided are aimed at decreasing suicide risk.
This project was funded by:
This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) and Office of the Director at NIH (R01MH120122). Funding to support cohort development was from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH; R01 AT008404) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA; R01 DA030150).