Study finds veterans with TBI have higher suicide risk

A new study found that the risk of suicide among U.S. military veterans who have had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is more than double that of other veterans. Researchers looked at a database in excess of 1.4 million vets who received treatment from the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) during a ten year period.

According to an article published by U.S. News & World Report, “They compared the severity of the traumatic brain injury with diagnoses of psychiatric and other medical conditions, along with the method of death in suicide cases. After adjusting for depression and other mental health diagnoses, the researchers found that veterans with moderate or severe TBI were 2.45 times more likely to die by suicide than those without TBI. The study only found an association and not a cause-and-effect link, however.”

The research study also stated that 68% of veterans studied who died by suicide used guns. Accordingly, the rate of veterans who suffered moderate to severe TBI who died by suicide and used guns was 78%. The leader of the study, Lisa Brenner (a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Colorado School of Medicine) stated that in addition to the important findings, the study also highlighted the need for more research regarding gun safety among those with moderate to severe TBI.

The study was published recently in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.

*If you have endured a traumatic brain injury as a result of your service and feel unhappy, depressed, anxious, fearful, moody, or in need of any emotional help, please contact a mental health professional.