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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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Soldier uses school project to combat suicide

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9/29/2017
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)

Army Capt. Michael Barnes is channeling his passion for helping veterans to get a master’s degree in nursing

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Into the woods: Does nature nurture healing?

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9/29/2017
The Green Road nature site is tucked away on bustling Naval Support Activity Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo courtesy of Uniformed Services University)

The goals of the Green Road project are to provide empirical evidence for the healing power of nature in wounded warriors and their caregivers

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One small act can save a life

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9/26/2017
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

There are no specific demographics associated with suicides, but there may be warning signs

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

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9/14/2017
Then-Brig. Gen. Carter Ham (left) talks with the Army vice chief of staff, Gen. George Casey, after senior military leaders arrive in Mosul, Iraq, in June 2004.  (Courtesy photo)

Army leader got emotional help after Iraq deployment, then earned more stars

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Resources, resiliency help military children turn away from suicidal thoughts

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9/12/2017
A note about social media written by one of the participants of an Air Force resiliency teen camp is displayed in a classroom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

Children of military parents face some real challenges, such as frequent relocations, which can make them feel isolated and turn to thoughts of suicide; Find out more about how you can keep them resilient

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

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September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

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New peer-support service launches

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11/25/2016
BeThere Call and Outreach Center logo

The DoD “BeThere” peer support call and outreach center is staffed by peers who are veteran service members and family members of veterans

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Defense Suicide Prevention Office

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11/1/2016

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

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Mourning the loss of a loved one from suicide

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10/4/2016
Mourning the loss of a loved one to suicide can be a difficult and painful experience. There is help and support available for service members and their families who are going through this experience.

Coping with the loss of a family member or friend to suicide can present a range of challenges and emotions. Services, tools and advice are available to help those who are or have gone through this experience.

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Why suicide prevention holds a special place in my heart

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Navy Medicine’s chaplain recounts his story of ‘the why’

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Suicide prevention: How to recognize the warning signs

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9/22/2016
Five signs that may mean someone is in emotional pain and might be at risk for suicide. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Chris Botzum)

How to recognize the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide, and what steps to take

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Shattered Mirror

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9/21/2016
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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Nurse Advice Line serves as important tool for suicide prevention

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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)

There are many resources to help service members and their families in dealing with suicide. The Nurse Advice Line is one more tool to use.

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Soldier overcomes physical, invisible wounds: From contemplating suicide to advocating others' wellness

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9/19/2016
Then-Army Maj. Ed Pulido, stands with his wife, Karen, and daughters, Kaitlin and Kinsley in June 2010. Pulido retired from the Army and is 12 years into his recovery and credits his family for encouraging and supporting him during that time.

As part of Suicide Prevention Month, retired Army Maj. Ed Pulido tells his own story about contemplating suicide, how his experience changed perspective on mental health and what he does now.

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Be There: Help Save a Life

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9/14/2016
Be There: Help Save a Life

Whether you have a minute or an hour, a simple act of kindness can help someone feel less alone. The U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense have created a video to show how small actions can have a huge impact on Veterans and Service members who might be going through a difficult time.

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