Suicidal admissions in the United States military

Mil Med. 2003 Mar;168(3):177-81.


Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death in the U.S. military. Little recent research has been done on a well-defined cohort at high risk for death by suicide, which consist of military patients who attempt suicide or are admitted for suicidal ideation. As a pilot investigation based on a literature review of suicidal behavior in the U.S. military, 100 consecutive charts of suicidal patients at a tertiary military treatment facility were reviewed. The findings included the following: 94% were admitted with a depressed mood; 67% had a history of previous attempts or gestures; 49% had been treated with psychiatric medication prior to admission and 88% were treated with psychiatric medications while on the ward; 47% returned to a full duty status; 29% were recommended for administrative separation; and 18% were recommended for a medical board. Suggestions for future research are presented to help improve our suicide prevention programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Pilot Projects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology