APA: Suicidal Thoughts Common Among U.S. Student Veterans

Nearly half the student veterans thought about suicide, with 20 percent having a suicide plan

THURSDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Psychological symptoms are common among U.S. military veterans who are college students, with almost 35 percent suffering from severe anxiety, and almost 46 percent thinking about suicide, according to a study presented at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, held from Aug. 4 to 7 in Washington, D.C.

M. David Rudd, Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues investigated the psychological symptoms, their severity, and suicide risk in 628 U.S. student veterans. Data were collected for demographic details, college experience, military service history, and psychological problems. It was hypothesized that the veterans would experience similar rates, severity, and types of problems as experienced by active duty service members and Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom veteran populations.

The investigators found that almost 46 percent of the students experienced symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, almost 35 percent suffered severe anxiety, and 24 percent had severe depression. A considerable number of participants (46 percent) thought about suicide. A total of 20 percent of participants had a suicide plan, 10.4 percent thought about suicide often or very often, 3.8 percent believed that suicide attempt was likely or very likely, and 7.7 percent made a suicide attempt.

"Available data indicate a significant problem among student veterans, consistent with that experienced by the broader veteran population," the authors write.

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