Leah Shelef PhD, Ishai Nir, Lucian Tatsa-Laur, Niv Gold, Ariel Ben Yehuda.
Background: First year of military service is a risk factor for suicide. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of the Suicide Prevention Program (SPP) on the rate of suicide over the first year of service.
Method: A nested case control retrospective study based on gathered medical and HR data between 1992 and 2016 (N=1,462,882; 491 suicide cases). The data was divided into two periods, before the SPP's implementation (1992–2005) and after (2009-2016).
Results: Female soldiers' suicide rates per 100,000 decreased from 4 to 3 in the first year of service. Male soldiers decreased from 37 per 100,000 to 13 in the 1st year of service. The decrease in annual prevalence (per 100,000) of suicide was 3.56 (R2=0.8185; p < 0.001).
Conclusion: The SPP showed and overall success in lowering suicide rate in soldiers regardless of gender and service year. The success, however, did not decrease the risk factor posed by the 1st year of service. Since it is difficult to effect dispositional risk factors. Further modification is needed in order to further lower suicide rate in that year.View pdf