The social determinants of suicide in the military

Military suicides are at an all-time high, and social determinants of health such as loneliness and social isolation are playing a role.

Three Humana leaders — Kristin Russell, Chris Hunter and William Shrank — have written a blog article for Health Affairs calling attention to the problem.

“In the US military population, there have been a staggering 45,000 suicides in the past six years, and particular groups in the military such as veterans have especially high suicide rates,” they wrote. “In fact, the suicide rate for veterans is 1.5 times the rate of non-veterans.

“Our military members deserve and require special attention. Health care initiatives that take the unique needs of this population into account are essential, and efforts to reduce military suicides must include tailored interventions to address loneliness. Health plans, providers, community organizations, and government agencies can all play a role in better understanding and combatting loneliness in the military. Targeting the social determinants of suicide is all of our responsibility.”

Read the full article here.

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