Veterans: We’re Afraid to Say Suicide

Research Paper Title

“We’re Afraid to Say Suicide”: Stigma as a Barrier to Implementing a Community-Based Suicide Prevention Program for Rural Veterans.

Background

Suicide is a significant public health concern for veterans residing in rural communities.

Although various initiatives have been implemented to prevent suicide among veterans, efforts specific to rural veterans remain limited.

Methods

To aid such efforts, the researchers examined stigma as a potential barrier to community readiness in the implementation of a community-based suicide prevention program for rural veterans.

In this qualitative study, community readiness interviews were conducted with 13 participants in a rural community.

Themes included lack of awareness regarding veteran suicide, rare discussions of veteran suicide, and suicide-related stigma within the community.

Results

Results suggest that prioritising destigmatisation may be particularly important to implementing community-based suicide prevention programming in rural communities.

Conclusions

In particular, addressing community misconceptions regarding veteran suicide, while increasing knowledge of the extent to which veteran suicide occurs locally may facilitate increased awareness and thus community readiness to prevent suicide among rural veterans.

Reference

Monteith, L.L., Smith, N.B., Holliday, R., Dorsey Holliman, B.A., LoFaro, C.T. & Mohatt, N.V. (2019) “We’re Afraid to Say Suicide”: Stigma as a Barrier to Implementing a Community-Based Suicide Prevention Program for Rural Veterans. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001139. [Epub ahead of print].

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