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Predicting soldier suicide triggers: one company hopes AI can help reduce suicide numbers

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Since 9/11, veteran suicides have been an increasing concern in the U.S. Lowering the number has become a major goal of the Veteran's Administration, and some estimates claim that veteran likelihood for suicide is higher than the average civilian.

A major dilemma in trying to prevent suicide is recognizing when someone may be at risk of taking that step -- and one company is trying to identify risk factors before it's too late.

The company ClearForce, hopes that machine learning and AI can work together to help prevent suicide. By using CDC data, and reviews potentially concerning items in certain groups -- identifying those who may be at risk for suicidal actions.

By identifying those with the highest risk of taking action -- support can be brought in quickly. Company representatives tell me that they want to work to provide information and support actions long before they may feel suicidal ideations.

In a way, the company hopes that they are able to notice potential stressors which could lead to suicidal attitudes -- and then take simple steps to inform them about support options for stressors that could be increasing unhappiness.

While VA data shows that veteran suicides have been dropping since 2018, over 6,000 service members have committed suicide every year since 2001. The VA estimates that 16 service members took their lives each day in the year 2020.

Over 514 veterans in Texas took their lives in 2019, the vast majority were men. The majority were veterans between the age of 35-74.

Avery Martinez covers mental health in the Borderland as part of ABC-7’s Be Mindful initiative. He is also a Report for America corps member. RFA places talented, emerging journalists in newsrooms like ABC-7’s to report on under-covered issues and communities. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.

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Avery Martinez


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