London: Veterans of the armed forces may not be at a greater risk of suicide as compared to people who have never served in the military, a new UK study has found.
However, there may be an increased risk of suicide in certain groups such as older veterans and women veterans, researchers said.
Previous studies on suicide risk in veterans have shown a mixed picture but recent UK studies have generally shown veterans to be at no greater risk than the general public, while both Falklands and Gulf War veterans have been shown to have a lower risk of suicide.
Researchers from University of Glasgow in Scotland analysed the long-term risks of suicide in all veterans who served between 1960 and 2012, in comparison with non-veterans.
They found that overall there was no difference between the veterans and the non-veterans. However, the risk was increased in older veterans, women who joined the military before 1992 and people who had left service early.
Older veteran women had a similar risk to men and young veterans were not at an increased risk, researchers said.
They also found that veterans were less likely than non- veterans to have used firearms.
"This is an important study which provides reassurance that military service in the last 50 years does not increase people's risk of suicide overall, but it draws our attention to those people whose increased risk may be overlooked, such as older veterans and women veterans," said Beverly Bergman from University of Glasgow.
"It also confirms that early service leavers have a slightly increased risk but that may not manifest itself until middle age," Bergman added.