Suicide and incarcerated veterans--don't wait for the numbers

J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 2009;37(1):92-4.


Using indirect evidence, Wortzel and his colleagues raise the likelihood that the rates of suicide will increase among incarcerated veterans, given past trends and current information about veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Although it might be argued that the data are inadequate for the formulation of public policy, there is sufficient information to begin creating programs for veterans now. Wortzel and colleagues suggest screening in jails to identify veterans at risk, with increased monitoring in the first weeks of incarceration, and use of the Critical Time Intervention during important transitions. While these recommendations are worthy, a better understanding of the factors associated with suicidality may help policy-makers to support programs for returning veterans before they develop the serious problems that can lead to suicide. Also promising is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's recent funding of six jail diversion programs with a focus on veterans.

MeSH terms

  • Afghanistan
  • Humans
  • Iraq
  • Mass Screening*
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / prevention & control*
  • United States
  • Veterans / psychology*