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PSYCHIATRIC MANAGEMENT OF SUICIDE PROBLEMS IN MILITARY SERVICE
WILLIAM OFFENKRANTZ; EDWIN CHURCH; ROBERT ELLIOTT
Am J Psychiatry 1957;114:33-41.
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School of Medicine, Univ. of Southern Calif., Los Angeles, Calif.

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Abstract

This study describes a group of outpatients who had threatened or attempted suicide and were brought to the attention of military psychiatrists.Data are presented comparing the characteristics of this group with a similar number of nonsuicidal patients chosen at random from the files of the same mental hygiene clinic.The data indicate that the suicidal group were younger, had less time in service, and were more frequently diagnosed as "character disorders" and "immaturity reactions" than the comparison group. Within the suicidal group itself, the frequency of attempts was higher among enlistees (1 per 3.5) than among draftees (1 per 5.7).Each patient was handled in a like manner, and none was hospitalized nor seen a second time.A follow-up of 5 to 19 months indicated a low incidence of suicides among the patients [See Fig. 1. and Fig. 2. in Source PDF] managed in this way (1 in 75); also a significantly higher number of administrative discharges, and a significantly lower number of honorable discharges among the suicidal group.Comparison with civilian population, characteristics of the clinical interviews, rationale of management, therapeutic aspects, weaknesses of the study, and the nature of emotional blackmail are discussed.

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