Funding: 43 621 EUR
Principal investigator: Merike Sisask
Funder: Estonian Military Academy
Institution: Estonian-Swedish Mental Health and Suicidology Institute
The number of suicides in the Estonian Defence Forces is rather small, not more than one case per year on average. The number of suicides among veterans is not known. The level of suicides in society on average is generally higher than in the military environment, but for several countries this statement is not valid any more (e.g. the United States). It is important to avoid getting on the same path in Estonia. Reaching to suicide is a process that is during shorter or longer period influenced by complex co- and counter-interactions of different protective and risk factors – psychological, social, cultural, neurobiological and demographic. Some of these are more easily modifiable, the others harder to affect, but knowing these factors makes possible to target preventive work more specifically. In preventions it is essential to increase the effect of protective factors and decrease the effect of risk factors. As suicide is a process, it is important to concentrate also on early recognition and prevention of milder forms of suicidality like suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Based on this description the objectives of the project are: (1) to find out the prevalence of suicidal behaviours and protective and risk factors of suicidality among veterans of the Defence Forces; (2) to analyse existing instruments for measuring suicide risk and to make proposals for developing tools for quantitative measurement within the Defence Forces.