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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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Recognizing, acting on a cry for help to prevent the tragedy of suicide

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9/25/2019
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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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5/8/2019

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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Kristin Gwin, Walter Reed Social Worker Talks About Getting Help

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9/12/2018
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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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Suicide Prevention Month 2018

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September is Suicide Prevention Month. No one fights the battle alone. Make it your mission to #BeThere for each other.

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Suicide Prevention Month 2018

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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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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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Be There: Help Save a Life

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9/14/2016
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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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Joe Nose Stress

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9/23/2015
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"Currently, Cmdr. Joe is the only stress-sniffing dog in the Department of Defense, but studies conducted by the University of Denver in Colorado have found that regardless of the type of skill they possess, the presence of therapy dogs reduce overall narcotic and painkiller usage among veterans."

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Not all Wounds are Visible

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Suicide Prevention 2015

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9/17/2015
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The Department of Defense takes suicide very seriously. Each Service is actively working to reduce the number of suicides. Watch this video to find out how you can help.

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Recognize Common Symptoms of Those at Risk

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In support of Suicide Prevention Month, this graphic lists some symptoms of those who may be contemplating suicide.

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It Takes All of Us to Prevent Suicide

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Never Leave a Warrior Behind

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