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Ready and Resilient: Army STARRS Update

Friday July 19, 2013

What is it?

Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS) is as a research partnership between the Army and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). It is the largest study of suicide risk and resilience ever conducted among military personnel. The study’s goal is to identify factors that protect a Soldier from, or put a Soldier at risk for, suicide and suicidal behavior. The Army will use results from the study to develop strategies to focus efforts to build resilience and to decrease the frequency of suicides in the Army.

This month Army STARRS enters its fifth year.

What has the Army done?

The Army sought the help of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in enlisting the most promising scientific approaches to better understand psychological resilience, mental health, and risk for self-harm among Soldiers, resulting in Army STARRS. The Army STARRS research team has completed data collection on two of the largest study components (New Soldier Study and All Army Study) while several others - including the Pre/Post Deployment Study - remain ongoing.

To date, more than 112,000 Soldiers have voluntarily participated in Army STARRS. Their contribution is of tremendous value and their willingness to take part in Army STARRS is deeply appreciated. Preliminary findings come from (but are not limited to) analyses in the areas of deployments, enlistment waivers, unit combat deaths, unit suicides, marriage, private housing, age and education, rank, years of service, military occupational specialties, exposure to traumatic events, head/neck/blast injury, prescription drug abuse, mental health disorders and treatment, and suicide attempts. Analyses continue and findings will help researchers as they develop tools for identifying sub-groups of Soldiers who may be at elevated risk for suicidal behaviors.

What continued efforts does the Army have in the future?

Since 2002, the suicide rate among Soldiers has risen significantly and addressing this issue is Army’s top priority. One of the biggest challenges in preventing suicides is the difficulty in assessing when someone is at risk for self harm. Army STARRS is developing ways to identify Soldiers who are at greatest risk for attempting suicide, which will assist the Army to take better care of the Soldiers.

Why is this important to the Army?

Army senior leadership receives quarterly Army STARRS updates. Findings are reported as they become available so that the Army may apply them to its ongoing ready and resilient efforts. Army STARRS will continue through 2014.


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