A study that will hopefully contribute to a better understanding of military suicides and pave the way for more effective prevention programs has been launched by the Marine Corps.
The study will conduct “psychological autopsies” of Marines who committed suicide in 2010, in order to determine what happened; see if there were clues prior to their deaths; and identify lessons that may possibly be integrated into suicide prevention programs.
Included in the research effort is a plan to gather as much information as it is possible. The researchers intend to go beyond what is found in such military investigations as the Department of Defense Suicide Event Report, or DoDSER, and Navy Criminal Investigative Service reports; they also plan to interview close family members, supervisors, and best friends.
The researchers will be looking into medical records, death reports, toxicology results, personnel records, NCIS reports and other resources, as well as interviewing three people who were close to the deceased service member.
Researcher Alan Berman, executive director of the American Association of Suicidology, shared: “We want to find out what is knowable, what is known and what can be informative in the aggregate to help develop programs for prevention.”
Berman shared further that the study may lead to the discovery of clues about suicide, and identify indicators that were manifested months before the event: “We like to think warning signs last weeks or days, or that there weren’t any signs. But we want to focus on the last 12 months, which could lead to the development of prevention programs that target early intervention.”