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Suicides in the Military: The Post-Modern Combat Veteran and the Hemingway Effect

Abstract

Suicides in the military have increased over the last ten years. Much effort has been focused on suicide prevention and treatment, as well as understanding the reasons for the sharp increase in military suicides. Despite this effort, the definitive causes of military suicides remain elusive. Further, highly effective suicide prevention and treatment approaches have not yet been developed. The purpose of this article is to present a short review of the current state of suicide prevention interventions within the context of the military. The root causes of suicidal behavior and the role of combat in the military are each discussed. Interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide and the military transition theory are introduced as guiding frameworks for understanding suicides and suicidal behavior amongst active military personnel and military veterans. The article concludes with a set of recommendations for moving forward in understanding and addressing suicides in the military.

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Carl Andrew Castro and Sara Kintzle declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Correspondence to Carl Andrew Castro.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Military Mental Health

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Castro, C.A., Kintzle, S. Suicides in the Military: The Post-Modern Combat Veteran and the Hemingway Effect. Curr Psychiatry Rep 16, 460 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-014-0460-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-014-0460-1

Keywords

  • Military
  • Suicide
  • Veteran
  • Combat
  • Interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide
  • Military transition theory
  • Modern veteran
  • Hemingway effect