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Suicide Prevention

Military life can be stressful for service members and their families. Everyone reacts to stress and traumatic experiences differently, and some may feel angry or isolated. These reactions can be common responses to life events, but, for some, these feelings may be signs of more serious conditions, including depression, traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. People coping with these concerns may feel like there is no escape from their symptoms, leading them to have thoughts of suicide. Deaths as a result of suicide are a preventable public health concern and a top priority for the Department of Defense (DoD). 

The Military Health System (MHS) works with military and civilian organizations to: 

  • Build awareness of suicidal behavior and risks, and 
  • Help service members and their families cope.  

We also promote programs that instill the skills needed to manage life’s challenges and encourage those with suicidal thoughts to seek help.

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Depression awareness: Reach out for yourself, and for others

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In memory of his younger brother, retired Army Master Sgt. Guillermo “Bill” Leal Jr. has devoted the past several years of his nursing career to helping wounded warriors. (Courtesy photo)

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Paying attention, knowing the signs: How teenagers can help save a life

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Air Force Maj. William Logan, a chaplain with the 35th Fighter Wing, holds a picture of his son, Zac, who committed suicide. Suicide among teenagers remains a concern. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jordyn Fetter)

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Army observes September as Suicide Prevention Month

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Effective suicide prevention requires everyone to be aware of the risk factors for suicide and know how to respond. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

Every person has a responsibility and commitment to reach out and help

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Kristin Gwin, Walter Reed Social Worker Talks About Getting Help

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Kristin Gwin, a Social Worker at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center understands that getting help can be an intimidating process. She offers advice on how to get started by letting a professional know you want help.

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Stopping bullying takes understanding, involvement

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Children can experience social withdrawal, anxiety, and depression as a result of bullying. From the Stop Bullying campaign to Military OneSource, resources are available to help parents and their families identify and address bullying (U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter)

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How sharing my PTSD struggles helped others—and me

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Army Sgt. Jon Harmon lost both legs after stepping on an improvised explosive device while on a 2012 Afghanistan mission. Today he speaks to commands and veterans about his personal struggle with mental health and how he works to overcome it. (Photo by Kevin Fleming, U.S. Army Sustainment Command)

Army Sgt. Jon Harman 82nd Airborne Division, liaison officer at Walter Reed Military Medical Center

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Suicide Prevention Month 2018

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Soldier uses school project to combat suicide

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Ohio Army National Guard Capt. Michael Barnes talks to a Soldier about the Ohio Vet 2 Vet Network, a website and mobile app with information and resources for military veterans and their families to combat the risk factors of suicide among veterans. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Carden)

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Into the woods: Does nature nurture healing?

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The Green Road nature site is tucked away on bustling Naval Support Activity Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo courtesy of Uniformed Services University)

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One small act can save a life

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Suicide Prevention Month is a prime opportunity for the U.S. Department of Defense and the Military Health System to raise public awareness of suicide risk among Service members, Veterans and beneficiaries

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Retired Gen. Ham: I got emotional support. You can, too.

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Resources, resiliency help military children turn away from suicidal thoughts

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Suicide Prevention: Each of us has an important role to play

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Defense Suicide Prevention Office

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Defense Suicide Prevention Office briefing for the Defense Health Board, Nov. 1, 2016.

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Shattered Mirror

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Army Private 1st Class Luselys Lugardo, a soldier assigned to the New Jersey Army National Guard, poses in front of a shattered mirror for a portrait. The shattered glass represents the way suicide hurts families, friends and coworkers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht)

Army Private 1st Class Luselys Lugardo, a soldier assigned to the New Jersey Army National Guard, poses in front of a shattered mirror for a portrait. The shattered glass represents the way suicide hurts families, friends and coworkers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht)

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