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Identifying veterans’ suicide risk via social media

FILE PHOTO (Greg Vote. Adobe Stock)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new study shows risk of suicide in veterans might be identifiable using social media.

The study conducted by the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah is among the first to look at social media with the goal of suicide prevention.

The findings suggest at-risk veterans were more likely post on social media about stressful events followed with talk of emotional distress and negative thoughts, talk about or post pictures of drinking alcohol, posts that quickly alternate between positive and negative emotional content, as well as posting photos of firearms more than family, friends, or pets.

Of course, researchers say these are not direct indicators of suicide risk but could afford people the opportunity to reach out to veterans and provide support. They say social media may be one of the most important current-day tools in identifying those at risk.

If you are a veteran in crisis or concerned about one, contact the Veteran Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK.


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