June 23, 2010
<b>What is it' </b>
The five-year Army study to assess risk and resilience in servicemembers (Army STARRS) is the largest study of mental health risk and resilience factors ever conducted among military personnel. Carried out in partnership with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), its goal is to identify - as quickly as possible - factors that protect or pose risks to Soldier's emotional wellbeing and mental health. This study is part of the Army's commitment to promote the overall health of Soldiers and to prevent suicide across the Army.
Soldier confidentiality is essential. Information from individual Soldiers will not be linked with Soldiers' names or any other personally identifying information. All collected information will be combined and reported only in the aggregate, which will preserve Soldiers' anonymity.
Soldier participation is strictly voluntary. However, the more Soldiers participate, the more successful researchers will be in identifying the risk and protective factors that affect Soldiers' psychological wellbeing.
<b>What has the Army done' </b>
The Army has provided Army STARRS researchers with thousands of historical health and administrative records (de-identified to protect Soldier confidentiality) that they are examining to identify risk and protective factors related to psychological resilience, mental health, risky behaviors and suicide.
<b>What will the Army do' </b>
In October 2010, Army installations will host the Army STARRS research team as it launches phase two of the study: gathering information from approximately 3,000 active-duty Soldiers/month, including mobilized reserve-component and National Guard. The information will describe the Soldiers' psychological and physical health, exposure to events, attitudes, social support, leadership and unit climate, training and knowledge, employment and economic status, family history and other potentially relevant areas. Biological specimens such as saliva will be collected for genetic and neurobiological studies. Researchers will seek parallel information from all new Soldiers entering the Army in the first three years of the study.
Some participants will be followed over a longer period of time, and the information gathered will help to identify characteristics, events, experiences, and exposures that may predict which individuals will experience mental-health challenges.
<b>Why is this important to the Army' </b>
The study is part of the Army's commitment to providing the Army family with the resources it needs to stay mentally fit. The study results are expected to provide a wealth of information about risk and protective factors for psychological wellbeing that the Army can quickly apply to its health promotion, risk reduction, and suicide-prevention efforts.
<a href="http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/suicide-prevention-studies/questions-and-answers-on-army-starrs.shtml " target="_blank">Army STARRS on NIMH website</a>