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Deployment Doesn't Increase Suicide Risk

Karen Kozub
Creative Commons

While suicide rates remain high among recent veterans, a new study found that deploying to a war zone doesn't necessarily increase a service members' suicide risk.

The suicide rate among recent veterans is about 50  percent higher than non veterans with similar demographics.

But a study published Wednesday found that deploying to a war zone didn't necessarily increase a service members suicide risk.

The Defense Department study examined data from nearly 4 million service members who served between 2001 and 2007.  

It found that of the more than 5-thousand-suicides by 2009, service members who deployed  were no more likely to kill themselves than those who had not deployed.

Study author Mark Reger says researchers found two things that did  increase a service member’s suicide risk.

One was that those who had a short period of military service especially those with less than four years of military service had higher rates of suicide. 

The other was leaving the military under a dishonorable discharge.

Reger says the study shows how difficult it is for some service members to transition out of military. He hopes the new information helps focus suicide prevention programs.