HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Risk factors of suicidal ideation in a population of UK military veterans seeking support for mental health difficulties

Article

This article explores the risk factors associated with suicidal ideation in treatment-seeking veterans.

Abstract

Little has been reported regarding the risk factors of suicidal ideation in individuals once they have left the military in the UK. The aim of this paper was to explore the risk factors associated with suicidal ideation in a sample of treatment-seeking veterans. Using a cross-sectional design, participants included veterans (n=144) seeking treatment from a national mental health charity in the UK. Individuals completed questionnaires regarding their military experiences, pre-enlistment factors and health. Data were then linked to risk assessments extracted from clinical records. After controlling for relevant variables, suicidal ideation was significantly higher in veterans who were unemployed (OR 8.01; 95%CI 1.79 to 35.80), were early service leavers (OR 8.46; 95%CI 2.21 to 32.35) and those with a history of childhood adversity (OR 6.92; 95%CI 2.10 to 22.82). In addition, taking longer than 5 years to seek help was associated with a reduced risk of suicidal ideation (OR 0.10; 95%CI 0.06 to 0.87). There was no association between health outcomes and suicidal ideation. Risk factors associated with suicidal ideation in this sample of veterans included: being unemployed, an early service leaver, taking less than 5 years to seek help and experiencing preservice adversity

Full Reference

Harden L, Murphy D Risk factors of suicidal ideation in a population of UK military veterans seeking support for mental health difficulties Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 2018;164:352-356.