Suicide mortality in Finland particularly among young people remains high, compared with other European countries. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among military conscripts in Finland.
In this record-based study, we investigated characteristics of all 48 suicides among Finnish conscripts during the period 1991-2007.
We collected and analyzed healthcare records during military service and medicolegal investigations (medicolegal autopsy) of suicide victims.
Of the 48 suicides, 36 (75%) were completed during leave days. Shooting, hanging and jumping were the most common methods used; a service gun was used in four (14%) of the 29 shooting cases. One-third of the victims had been in contact with military healthcare during the week preceding their suicide, and two-thirds during the preceding month.
When conscripts use healthcare services, suicidal thoughts should be actively asked of those conscripts with history of any risk factors for suicidal behavior.