Characteristics and VA Health Care Utilization of U.S. Veterans Who Completed Suicide in Oregon Between 2000 and 2005

Authors

  • Chandra Basham MD,

    1. Chandra Basham, ZoomCare, P.C., Hillsboro, OR; Lauren M. Denneson, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Lisa Millet, Xun Shen, Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, OR; Jonathan Duckart, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Portland, OR; and Steven K. Dobscha, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.
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  • Lauren M. Denneson PhD,

    1. Chandra Basham, ZoomCare, P.C., Hillsboro, OR; Lauren M. Denneson, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Lisa Millet, Xun Shen, Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, OR; Jonathan Duckart, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Portland, OR; and Steven K. Dobscha, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.
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  • Lisa Millet MSH,

    1. Chandra Basham, ZoomCare, P.C., Hillsboro, OR; Lauren M. Denneson, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Lisa Millet, Xun Shen, Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, OR; Jonathan Duckart, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Portland, OR; and Steven K. Dobscha, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.
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  • Xun Shen MD, MPH,

    1. Chandra Basham, ZoomCare, P.C., Hillsboro, OR; Lauren M. Denneson, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Lisa Millet, Xun Shen, Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, OR; Jonathan Duckart, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Portland, OR; and Steven K. Dobscha, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.
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  • Jonathan Duckart MPS,

    1. Chandra Basham, ZoomCare, P.C., Hillsboro, OR; Lauren M. Denneson, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Lisa Millet, Xun Shen, Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, OR; Jonathan Duckart, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Portland, OR; and Steven K. Dobscha, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.
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  • Steven K. Dobscha MD

    1. Chandra Basham, ZoomCare, P.C., Hillsboro, OR; Lauren M. Denneson, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Lisa Millet, Xun Shen, Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, OR; Jonathan Duckart, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Portland, OR; and Steven K. Dobscha, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Physical and Mental Disorders, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.
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  • This material is based on work supported in part by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, and Health Services Research and Development Service Projects DHI-08-096. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. government.

Address correspondence to Lauren M. Denneson, Portland VA Medical Center, P.O. Box 1034 (P3DEP_PC), Portland, OR 97207; E-mail: lauren.denneson@va.gov

Abstract

Oregon Violent Death Reporting System data were linked with Veterans Affairs (VA) administrative data to identify and describe veterans who completed suicide in Oregon from 2000 to 2005 (n = 968), and to describe their VA health care utilization in the year prior to death. Twenty-two percent had received health care in the VA system. Of these, 57% did not have mental health diagnoses and 58% had not seen mental health professionals. A larger proportion of those who accessed care were VA-enrolled and received service-connected disability benefits. Fifty-five veterans were hospitalized during the year prior to death. Of these, 33% completed suicide within 30 days of a hospitalization. Further development of suicide prevention strategies for veterans in the community, including general medical treatment settings, is indicated.

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