May 24 2013
On Memorial Day two years ago I wrote: “There's no better way to honor the men and women who have died by suicide — and the families and friends they left behind — than to ensure that the country is doing all it can to avoid future premature deaths.” This message is even more important this year, as the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) continues to grapple with a growing number of suicides among service members.
I believe that research can make a difference, and at RAND we're focusing considerable efforts on conducting high-quality, objective research to prevent suicide. This work began with the DoD. In 2011, RAND published The War Within, which identified the strengths and gaps in the current approaches to prevent suicide among military personnel. The conclusions and recommendations in that report helped influence Senator Patty Murray's amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 requiring a comprehensive military suicide prevention program.