Monitor on Psychology - October 2011 - (Page 13)

College student veterans’ risk for suicide was comparable to or more severe than that of other veterans. Suicide risk is high among war veterans in college, study finds Nearly half of college students who are U.S. military veterans have thought of suicide and 20 percent said they had planned to kill themselves — rates significantly higher than those of college students in general, according to a study presented by M. David Rudd, PhD, during APA’s 2011 Annual Convention. “These alarming numbers underscore the urgent need for universities to be adequately staffed and prepared to assist and treat student veterans,” said Rudd, the study’s lead author, who spoke during a symposium on the challenges of suicide prevention in the military. In the study, researchers with the National Center for Veterans’ Studies at the University of Utah looked at survey results gathered in 2011 from 525 veterans — 415 men and 110 women, with an average age of 26. Ninety-eight percent had been deployed in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan and about 60 percent reported they had experienced combat. Most were Caucasian (77 percent), with the remainder Hispanic (12 percent), African-American (7 percent), Asian-American (3 percent) and Native American (1 percent). This ethnic background distribution is similar to that of all U.S. veterans, according to the paper. The findings were startling: • 46 percent indicated suicidal thinking at some point during their lives. OCTOBER 2011 • MONITOR ON PSYCHOLOGY • 20 percent reported suicidal thoughts with a plan. • 10.4 percent reported thinking of suicide very often. • 7.7 percent reported a suicide attempt. • 3.8 percent reported a suicide attempt was either likely or very likely. These rates are significantly higher than rates found in the American College Health Association’s 2010 data on university students in general, which show 6 percent of college students reported seriously considering suicide and 1.3 percent reported a suicide attempt. The survey data also indicated that the student veterans’ suicide-related problems were comparable to or more severe than those of veterans seeking mental health services from VA medical centers. The study authors said they were unaware of any data describing the preparedness of college and university counseling centers to meet these demands. They recommended expanding training to help counselors recognize and treat combat-related trauma, making training available not only to clinics and counseling centers but to all student service offices that have significant contact with students, and providing broad-based screening for student veterans as they transition to campus, such as during orientation. —L. BOWEN 13

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - October 2011

Monitor on Psychology - October 2011
President’s Column
Subtle and stunning slights
From the CEO
Live science on the showroom floor
Zimbardo re-examines his landmark study
Ready, set, mentor
Attention students and ECPs: Self-care is an ‘ethical imperative’
Suicide risk is high among war veterans in college, study finds
Psychotherapy is effective and here’s why
From toilet to tap: getting people to drink recycled water
What’s ahead for psychology practice?
A push for more accountability is changing the accreditation process
Peer, parental support prove key to fighting childhood obesity
Popular media’s message to girls
Bullying may contribute to lower test scores
A consequence of cuckoldry: More (and better) sex?
Manatees’ exquisite sense of touch may lead them into dangerous waters
Building a better tomato
How will China’s only children care for their aging parents?
‘Spice’ and ‘K2’: New drugs of abuse now on the market
Many suspects don’t understand their right to remain silent
In Brief
Boosting minority achievement
Where’s the progress?
And social justice for all
Helping new Americans find their way
Segregation’s ongoing legacy
A new way to combat prejudice
Retraining the biased brain
Suppressing the ‘white bears’
How to eat better — mindlessly
Protect your aging brain
Must babies always breed marital discontent?
Outing addiction
Flourish 2051
The danger of stimulants
Keys to making integrated care work
Is technology ruining our kids?
Facebook: Friend or foe?
The promise of Web 3.0
NIMH invests in IT enhanced interventions
Science Directions
Science Directions
PsycAdvocates work to safeguard key programs
The psychology of spending cuts
APA’s strategic plan goes live
Visionary leaders
Vote on bylaws amendments

Monitor on Psychology - October 2011