Weak Screening in Soldier Suicide

The first publicly released findings from the largest mental-health study conducted by the U.S. military challenge many of the common notions regarding the spike in soldiers' suicide rates and other mental-health disorders. Published in JAMA Psychiatry on Monday, the two papers show that while 8 percent of soldiers have contemplated suicide, many of the deaths could have been prevented if the military had rigorously screened for mental illness as it is supposed to. Many soldiers enrolled with significantly higher rates of PTSD, panic disorder, ADHD, and explosive disorder that were higher than the general population. Pre-enlistment rates of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse were on par with civilian rates. One lead researcher, Matthew Nock of Harvard University, claimed 30 percent of suicides could have been prevented if the Army excluded recruits with a history of mental illness.