Suicide in the Guard and Reserve: Variables in Mental Health Access and Support
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE, DISTANCE LEARNING, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
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Suicide rates for the U.S. military reached a crisis level in 2006 and continued to rise. There were many theories as to why the suicide rates had reached such high levels and the Department of Defense DoD among several other entities began to study this problem. In 2012 the DoD began to report the components separately and provided the first data related to suicide rates for Active Duty vs. Guard and Reserve. The rates overall were shocking for this time period however, the rates for the Guard and Reserve were disproportionately high. Suicide rates did begin to fall by 2014 after much direction from the Department of Defense to military installations around the world regarding suicide prevention and mental health support. However, rates are again on the rise according to Quarter 3 of 2015 DoD Suicide Event Report data. This data is the most recently published statistics from the Department of Defense. Considering these statistics, there must be factors and or variables that are unique to the Guard and Reserve forces and therefore, require unique interventions. This research evaluation explores the factors and variables unique to Guard and Reserve members and whether there are gaps in mental health support that may attribute to the past disproportionate suicide rates and the rates that appear to be climbing again based on 2015 preliminary data. This study also recommends demographics relevant to Guard and Reserve members not currently reported and suggests areas for future research, as well as interventions that may impact the support programs for Guard and Reserve members.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations