Suicide Among American Indian/Alaska Native Military Service Members and Veterans

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Abstract

Many American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities experience high suicide rates. However, there is little discussion in epidemiological and empirical literature about suicide-related outcomes among AI/AN military service members or veterans. This article briefly reviews the literature on AI/AN suicide and discusses what is known about Native military service member and veteran suicide mortality and self-directed violence. Recent studies suggest high suicide death rates among AI/AN military service members and veterans. Discussion includes the potential for unique cultural protective and risk factors that could inform prevention efforts and some of the novel existing efforts to support AI/AN veterans are reviewed. Given concerning suicide rates among military service members and veterans, it is important for future research to clarify the risk to AI/AN military service members and veterans and how to best develop and implement effective suicide prevention/interventions.

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