(Photo:Flickr/ Beverly & Pack) College war veterans are at a greater risk of suicide than other college students.

A startling report by the National Center for Veterans’ Studies at the University of Utah revealed  the risk of suicide for war veterans in college, as well as the prevalence of suicidal thoughts, is significantly greater than that of other college students.

The study surveyed 525 veterans – 415 males and 110 females at an average age of 26 with “an ethnic background distribution is similar to that of all U.S veterans” – and found that 46 percent of the veterans reported thinking suicidal thoughts, 20 percent said they had suicidal thoughts as well as a plan to go along with it, 10.4 percent said they thought of suicide very often, 7.7 percent actually attempted suicide and 3.8 percent reported that a “suicide attempt was either likely or very likely.”

These numbers are a stark comparison to American College Health Association’s 2010 survey of college students in general, which found only 6 percent of students thinking suicidal thoughts and 1.3 percent reporting a suicide attempt.  

“These alarming numbers underscore the urgent need for universities to be adequately staffed and prepared to assist and treat student veterans,” said M. David Rudd, PhD, of the University of Utah and lead author of the study entitled, “Student Veterans: A National Survey Exploring Psychological Symptoms and Suicide Risk.”