Developing a Research Strategy for Suicide Prevention in the Department of Defense: Status of Current Research, Prioritizing Areas of Need, and Recommendations for Moving Forward
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... int and linking permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.html. The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous. RAND is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and committed to the public interest. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors. Support RAND Make a tax-deductible charitable contribution at Preface In response to concerns about the elevated rate of suicide among U.S. service members, the congressionally mandated Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces o ered a series of recommendations to help strengthen the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) suicide prevention programs. e task force's nal recommendation was for DoD to "create a uni ed, strategic, and comprehensive DoD plan for research in military suicide prevention ensuring that the DoD's military suicide prevention research portfolio is thoughtfully planned to cover topics in prevention, intervention, and postvention" (U.S. Department of Defense Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces, 2010, p. ES-18). e RAND Corporation was asked to provide guidance that DoD can use to develop this recommended uni ed, strategic, and comprehensive plan. e study was organized around three overarching research aims: (1) catalog research being conducted on suicide prevention that is directly relevant to military personnel, (2) examine whether current research maps onto DoD's strategic research needs related to suicide prevention, and (3) ensure that any proposed DoD research strategy aligns with the national research strategy and is integrated with DoD's data, surveillance, and program evaluation strategies. RAND took a multidisciplinary approach to meeting these three aims, drawing from the disciplines of psychology, epidemiology, statistics, and economics. is report presents the results of the study. It should be of interest to policy o cials charged with implementing suicide prevention programs, analysts who compile suicide prevention research portfolios for program evaluation or other purposes, and others who are engaged in ensuring a comprehensive response to suicide among service members, including members of Congress and military and veteran service organizations.