There is no definitive standard for identifying or treating veterans at risk of suicide, according to a new study out of Oregon Health and Science University.
In an effort to reduce the number of suicides, the Veterans Administration asked OHSU to find the best ways to identify vets at risk, and how to treat them.
Lead author Dr. Heidi Nelson says they found screening methods that identify patients at risk, but those approaches tend to produce a high numbers of false alarms.
She also found that doctors are trying various therapies, but there’s no scientific proof to show which ones work best.
“We need more research and studies to show the effectiveness of this method versus that method and what might be some problems with the methods," Nelson said.
"Some things might not be optimal because they cause undue burden on the patient. There may be downsides to certain things we do.”
Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, veterans have become almost twice as likely as the general population to take their lives. In the U.S., more than 20 veterans a day are dying from suicide.