University of Alabama researchers, America’s Warrior Partnership and The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation have partnered on a four-year, $2.9 million study to explore risk factors that contribute to suicides, early mortality and self-harm among military veterans.
“Operation Deep Dive,” funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, aims to create better understanding of the risk-factors, particularly at the organizational and community level.
Drs. Karl Hamner (left), director of the Office of Evaluation for the College of Education, and David L. Albright (right), Hill Crest Foundation Endowed Chair in Mental Health and associate professor in the School of Social Work, are the principal investigators for UA on the study.
Recent research has shown that neither PTSD nor combat exposure are good predictors of veterans and suicide, so researchers must cast a wider net, Hamner said.
“Previous research has focused primarily on individual-level risk factors, like prior suicide attempts, mood disorders, substance abuse and access to lethal means, but suicide is a complex phenomenon, and those factors don’t paint the whole picture,” Albright said.
The study is innovative in that it focuses on veterans across the spectrum of service, gender and lifespan, utilizing data from America’s Warrior Partnership and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, new data collected during the study, and data from the Department of Defense.