Posted on Dec 26, 2014
COL Ted Mc
7.71K
12
7
4
4
0
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-army-is-building-an-algorithm-to-prevent-suicide/

The Army Is Building An Algorithm To Prevent Suicide

Jerry Evans Jr. fills out a suicide report every time he picks up the phone. “Everyone who calls the crisis line gets assessed. If they call trying to refill a prescription, because they just dialed the wrong number, they still get assessed,” he explained.

He’s a responder at the Veterans Crisis Line. It’s a hotline administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs that takes calls from veterans, active-duty soldiers and civilians who are seeking help for suicidal thoughts and behavior. Evans wants to know whether the person at risk has a plan and the necessary means to hurt himself — if he shows serious intent. “We find out if they have reasons for wanting to die. Then we try to find reasons for them to keep living,” Evans said.

In these tense conversations, responders like Evans try to comprehend the swirl of factors behind the caller’s state and to accurately gauge suicide risk. But Evans is still a responder — ideally, high-risk individuals would be identified before they feel the need to call the crisis line.

Doing that isn’t easy. There’s a long list of factors for suicide — marriage and financial problems, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc. — and each person’s mix could be different. It’s the kind of task that might be better suited for computers, not humans. (Research has repeatedly shown that doctors are not accurate in predicting who is at risk of suicide.)

With the help of people, the computers are getting better at it. Researchers have created — and are still honing — a model to predict who might commit suicide. That model relies on ...

EDITORIAL COMMENT:- It's about time that we moved past "Everyone knows" in the direction of "We can identify the non-obvious". Good work.
Posted in these groups: Screen shot 2015 03 15 at 2.13.20 pm PTSDB4caadf8 SuicideCw field hospital Medicine
Avatar feed
Responses: 4
MSG Floyd Williams
3
3
0
(3)
Comment
(0)
Avatar small
TSgt Thomas Monaghan
2
2
0
If you are honest about it you get black balled and put to a medical board which is why most service members lie about it!!!!!!!
(2)
Comment
(0)
COL Ted Mc
COL Ted Mc
>1 y
TSgt Thomas Monaghan - Sergeant; That, unfortunately, is a problem that the military members have had to deal with for (roughly) the past six millennia.
(1)
Reply
(0)
Avatar small
MAJ Armored Combat Command Commander
1
1
0
I guess I would ask how do we ensure folks know and call the number, how do we find those who need help but don't call?
(1)
Comment
(0)
COL Ted Mc
COL Ted Mc
7 y
MAJ (Join to see) - Major; Do you remember that course where the instructors started out with "Everybody look to your left, now look to your right, well ..."?

If the members of the military don't look out for each other's welfare, then you can be damned sure that the politicians won't.

If anyone sees that "Buddy" appears to be "having issues" then they should talk to "Buddy". And I don't mean telling "Buddy" to "Shut up and soldier.".

EVERYONE coming back from a deployment to a combat zone is going to "have issues" - it's just that some people handle them better than others (and, who knows, maybe the way that that person handled their "issues" just might be what "Buddy" needs to hear [heck, even just hearing that someone who appears NOT to "have issues" does/did "have issues" might even be the final prod that "Buddy" needs to actually admit that they are "having issues" too.]).
(1)
Reply
(0)
Avatar small

Join nearly 2 million former and current members of the US military, just like you.

close