LEXINGTON, Ky. - With the rate of suicides among military personnel continuing to rise, a University of Kentucky professor is leading a study to investigate the effect those deaths have on family and friends left behind.
Based on previous research, it’s estimated that around 40% of Kentuckians know someone who has taken their own life. Dr. Julie Cerel, a researcher in the UK College of Social Work, says that number may be higher among veterans.
“When a military colleague dies, it’s not the traditional kind of family relationship that we often look at for bereavement, but it can have very profound impacts on people’s lives and on their willingness to continue in their military role.”
The study received funding from the Military Suicide Research Consortium. Investigators want to gauge how many people know a veteran who committed suicide and how they coped with that loss.
“We’re really combining survey research with in-depth qualitative research so that we can hear people’s stories and hear about the significant impact their loss had on their lives,” says Cerel.
Last week the Army reported 38 confirmed or suspected suicides in July, the highest one-month total since the military began tracking such data.