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Suicide is major cause of death in the IDF. The Suicide Prevention Program (SPP) led to significant reduction in yearly rates of suicide. A study regarding demographic changes of those who died by suicide was done to further investigate its affect.
Nested case control retrospective study based on medical and HR data gathered between 1992 and 2016. Participants were divided into four groups: soldiers who died by suicide and non-suicidal soldiers, before and after SPP implementation.
Multivariate analysis with suicide as the binary logistic dependent variable before and after implementation of the SPP among four groups revealed that before SPP the OR was higher for males (OR, 7.885; 95% CI, 5.071–12.259;p < 0.001) compared to after (OR, 3.281; 95% CI, 1.600–6.726; p = 0.001). For support unit soldiers the values before SPP were OR, 14.962 and 95% CI, 8.427–26.563 (p < 0.001) while after SPP they were OR, 6.304 and 95% CI, 3.334–11.919 (p < 0.001). After SPP, OR was higher for psychiatric diagnosis at recruitment (OR, 5.830; 95% CI, 2.046–16.612; p = 0.001) than before SPP (OR, 2.422; 95% CI, 1.526–3.842; p < 0.001).For soldiers from Ethiopian ethnicity, after SPP values were higher (OR, 8.130 and 95% CI, 2.868–23.047 (p < 0.001) compared to before (OR, 3.522; 95% CI, 1.2891–6.650; p < 0.001). For those of Druse religion before values (OR, 4.027; 95% CI, 2.211–7.331; p < 0.001) were significant but not after.
While the SPP succeeded in reducing risk of suicide in situational factors, dispositional risk factors were not affected by the SPP. The OR decreased in critical masses and rose in unique and smaller groups.
There is an ongoing debate on the effectiveness of suicidal behavior prevention measures in the military. The association of three widely used tools with severe suicide attempts was assessed in this setting.
Thirty-nine Israeli soldiers (59% males), mean age 19 yrs., who attempted suicide during military service were divided into two groups: severe (n = 14; 35.9%) and moderate suicide attempts, and were assessed using the Scale for Suicide Ideation (SSI), Suicide Intent Scale (SIS) and the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS).
Seven items from the SSI (p = 0.008), two items from SIS and one item from C-SSRS were associated with severe suicide attempts. Kendall’s tau-b correlation with bootstrap demonstrated stability of these correlations.
Greater severity of suicidal ideation was associated with more severe suicide attempts. The combination of male gender, available firearms and current severe suicide ideation is high-risk danger sign in a military setting, even when reported intent to die is low.
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