marriage therapist in orange county

Strong Relationships May Reduce Risk of Military Suicides

Involvement in a strong committed relationship can reduce the risk of suicide among members of the military. According to investigators from Michigan State University, a decreased suicide rate among National Guard and reserve members is dependent on a healthy relationship with their significant other. Keep reading to learn more about how a strong relationship can reduce suicide risk as well as how a marriage therapist in Orange County can help.

How High is Suicide Risk for Military Members?

Statistics show that members of the military have a higher risk of suicide than civilians. In addition, researchers have also discovered that the risk of suicide among National Guard and reserve members is much greater than among active duty members. Investigators believe this is because of the unique challenges confronted by National Guard members when they return to their civilian lives after deployment.

After combat missions, guard members are often forced to immediately jump back into civilian life, which can be very difficult. Many suffer from mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety in the months that follow their return. These are considered at-risk symptoms for suicide.

How Strong Relationships Factor In

Researchers at Michigan State University were curious how a strong, intimate relationship played a role in the lives of soldiers who suffered from mental health conditions. They discovered a correlation between decreased suicide rates and relationship satisfaction.

Adrian Blow, family studies professor and lead author at Michigan State University states that “…a strong relationship provides a critical sense of belonging and motivation for living – the stronger a relationship, the more of a buffer it affords to prevent suicides… National Guard members don’t typically have the same type of support system full-time soldiers receive upon returning home, so it’s important that the family and relationships they return to are as satisfying and strong as possible,” (American Association of Suicidology).

The Study

In order to prove Blow’s claims, researchers carried out a survey that questioned 712 National Guard members in Michigan who had been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan between 2010-2013 and reported whether or not they were in a committed relationship. The study measured three main variables — mental health symptoms, suicide risk, and relationship satisfaction — each on a separate ranking scale.

The soldiers were asked if their relationship was enjoyable, if they ever had suicidal thoughts or had attempted suicide, how often they experienced symptoms of depression, etc. The survey conveyed a significant connection between mental health conditions (PTSD, depression, and anxiety) and suicide, indicating that a high amount of symptoms were predictive of greater suicide risk.

If You Need Help Strengthening Your Relationship, a Marriage Therapist in Orange County Can Help

These results tell us that members of the military who had higher couple satisfaction had lower suicide rates and were less likely to be affected by PTSD, depression, and anxiety. If your relationship could use some help to bring you and your partner closer, a marriage therapist in Orange County can help. In fact, although most people only think of therapy when their relationship may have issues, marriage counseling can help keep an already strong relationship healthy.

Jennifer De Francisco, MPA, MSW, LCSW, is a marriage therapist in Newport Beach for couples at any stage in their relationship. Her approach provides a safe environment to openly and honestly share thoughts and emotions. Through developing a positive, therapeutic relationship, you and your partner can interpret what is going on, both in your life and in the session, creating a better awareness within your relationship. Contact Jennifer De Francisco by calling (949) 251-8797 or make an appointment online.


Gorman, L. A., et al. “National Guard Families After Combat: Mental Health, Use of Mental Health Services, and Perceived Treatment Barriers.” Psychiatric Services, vol. 62, no. 1, 2011, pp. 28–34., doi:10.1176/

If not now, when?

You don’t have to go through this alone. Seriously. Let’s get started.

Recent Posts

Featured Testimonials

Chris B.5.0
Read More
Kids are always hard and as a parent it's not always easy to see objectively what is really going on. Jennifer helped me talk through challenges/issues with my oldest son that were running through my head. In the end she provided me a solid perspective to build on and because of that I have been able to manage the situation much better. Easy conversation and very helpful.
Ravenna S.5.0
Read More
Jennifer is such a wonderful and genuine therapist. She is extremely kind and understanding. She comprehends couple and mental health problems precisely. I would definitely recommend her to anyone that is seeking help.
Read More
Jennifer is such a wonderful and genuine therapist. She is extremely kind and understanding. She comprehends couple and mental health problems precisely. I would definitely recommend her to anyone that is seeking help.
Timothy 5.0
Read More
I have been seeing Jennifer De Francisco for about a year, and she has helped me so much with the unhappiness I thought would never go away. Jennifer’s compassion and empathy made me feel safe enough to open up and talk about the uncomfortable feelings I didn’t even know were causing my sadness. With Jennifer’s help, I am now aware of my negative thoughts. Instead of avoiding them, I can work through them. She has helped change my life.
Read More
It was tough when we first started with Jennifer , but through difficult conversations and understanding some of the causes of how closed off we were to each other, we worked through it and are in a good place. The idea that we could break up is the furthest thing from my mind now, and going in to work on our relationship was the best thing to do. One of the things that really helped was that I felt Jennifer really cared that our relationship worked and that we improved things between us. I think that is rare, and always helped me not give up hope.
George S.5.0
Read More
I know people hate to hear this, but relationships take work, especially with kids and stress. I would suggest relationship counseling for any married couple, even if it were just monthly or when things get tough. We continue to see Jennifer after our initial problem because it keeps us on track. Best of luck to all couples looking for help- Jennifer is a wonderful resource.