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Suicide Prevention

Military service members’ lives are generally very different from the lives of civilians. Service members may be subject to frequent relocations, overseas deployments, and stressful experiences related to combat and significant time away from their families. Everyone reacts to stress and traumatic experiences differently, and while some have reactions that can be seen as normal responses to life events, others may experience signs or symptoms of more serious conditions, including depression, traumatic brain injury, or posttraumatic stress disorder. Those coping with more serious concerns may feel like there is no escape from their difficulties.

Suicide is a serious public health concern, but is preventable. 

Reach Out for Support

You are not alone. If you or a loved one needs immediate help, there are resources available to you.

Military Crisis Line Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Psychological Health Resource Center

24/7, free support for all service members and veterans.

24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress.

24/7 support and assistance for service members, veterans and families.

Recognize the Signs of Those at Risk

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, there may be cause for concern. Seek professional guidance right away if you or your loved one, co-worker or friend is:

  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself/themselves or others
  • Experiencing excessive rage, anger, or desire for revenge
  • Seeking access to pills, weapons, or other means of harm
  • Having feelings of anxiety, agitation, or hopelessness
  • Talking or writing excessively about death, dying, or suicide
  • Repeatedly reliving past stressful experiences
  • Unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Experiencing uncharacteristic dramatic changes in mood or behavior
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, or society
  • Feeling there is no reason for living
  • Engaging in significant alcohol or drug use
  • Feeling trapped, like there is no way out
  • Engaging in risky behavior, such as driving recklessly

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Dr. Karin A. Orvis and Mike Colston, MD: Suicide Prevention

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Dr. Karin A. Orvis Director, Defense Suicide Prevention Office, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) and Mike Colston, MD Captain, Medical Corps, US Navy Director, Mental Health Programs Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) [testified] before the Personnel Subcommittee of Senate Armed Forces Committee

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Elizabeth P. Van Winkle, PhD, and Mike Colston, MD: Military Suicide Prevention

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Elizabeth P. Van Winkle, PhD Executive Director Office of Force Resiliency Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) and Mike Colston, MD Captain, Medical Corps, US Navy Director, Mental Health Programs Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) [testified] before The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel And The House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health

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Dr. Karin A. Orvis and Mike Colston, MD: Military Suicide

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Dr. Karin A. Orvis Director, Defense Suicide Prevention Office, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) and Mike Colston, MD Captain, Medical Corps, US Navy Director, Mental Health Programs Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) [testified] before the Personnel Subcommittee of Senate Armed Forces Committee

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What to Expect at Your First Appointment

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Last Updated: July 19, 2022

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