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PREVENTS aimed at reducing Service Member and Veteran suicide

Group of airmen hugging each other Airmen grieve following a memorial service for a fellow airmen. (Photo by Tech Sgt. Teri Eicher, 134th Air Refueling Wing.)

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“The second leading cause of death between ages 10 to 35 is suicide,” according to Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, executive director of the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS). In our nation, suicide has increased by 33% over the last 25 years across all demographics. These are challenging statistics that Warrior Care and PREVENTS are concerned about.

Warrior Care Recovery Coordination Program provides our recovering service members, military caregivers, and their family/friends with the right knowledge to prevent these tragedies.

Launched in June 2020, PREVENTS focuses on a holistic public health approach to suicide prevention. PREVENTS collaborates with 10 other Federal agencies to emphasize improved overall health and well-being.

Veterans can lead this movement by setting an example to civilians, as they are one and a half times more likely to commit suicide, with women veterans being two and a half times more likely out of the Veteran population, compared to civilians.

One of the many myths about suicide is that mental illness is a risk factor. Van Dahlen explained how, “Not all risk factors are related to mental illness. It is a combination of factors and can include legal troubles, financial stress, chronic physical health, and feeling of hopelessness.” Those who attempt suicide or having suicidal thoughts are dealing with a combination of risk factors that happen either abruptly or over a long period of time.

Recovering service members face a variety of risk factors that can negatively affect their mental health and well-being, added Van Dahlen. For recovering service members transitioning into the civilian world, many have shared that they lose a feeling of purpose and disconnectedness with the Military community. These are also risk factors that can contribute to an increase in suicide rate for the Recovering Military community.

According to Van Dahlen, protective factors play a role in lowering suicidal risk factors, this includes access to appropriate health and mental health care, good physical health, belonging to a faith-based community, sense of belonging, and more. By being knowledgeable about protective factors, you can provide someone who is at risk, or yourself, with the appropriate tools and resources to help, shared Van Dahlen. “The goal (of PREVENTS) is to educate people on finding protective factors;” added Van Dahlen. “So, finding what works for each individual, or what collection of things work.”

According to Van Dahlen and the Defense Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO), one of the easiest and most effective factors for those at risk, is simply reaching out. When you take the time to reach out to your loved ones, that’s a step in a positive direction.

The PREVENTS’ REACH campaign is designed for everyone, and individuals can sign the PREVENTS Pledge to REACH. By taking the pledge, a service member is making a commitment to learn more about risk and protective factors, promote PREVENTS resources and activities, and inspiring others to take the pledge.

“We all know that suicide prevention is a national public health challenge and that everyone has a role to play,” concluded Van Dahlen.

To take the pledge, visit https://www.wearewithinreach.net/pledge/.

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This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the guidance of References (d) through (s), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA) procedures to: a. Set procedures, responsibilities, and implement guidance for administering the DHA RA Program in accordance with federal guidelines. b. Provide, submit, and respond to requests for RAs of qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment. c. Process RA requests for DHA employees and applicants with disabilities to ensure an appropriate response in a timely manner. Further, these procedures establish criteria for collecting and annually reporting data on the numbers and types of request for RA considered.

  • Identification #: DHA AI 1020.01
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DHA PM 6025-01: Primary Care Behavioral Health (PCBH) Standards

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedures Manual (DHA-PM), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (i), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures to establish required standards for: a. Military Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs) and primary care clinics for adult, child and adolescent, health behavior, behavioral medicine, and behavioral health services in primary care. b. Behavioral Health Consultants (BHCs). c. Behavioral Health Care Facilitators (BHCFs). d. External Behavioral Health Consultants (EBHCs). e. Primary Care Clinic Leaders.

Warrior Care Month Recognition

Policy

This memorandum from Mr. Thomas McCaffery, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, officially recognizes November as Warrior Care Month, an important Department of Defense (DoD)-wide effort to increase awareness of programs and resources available to wounded, ill, and injured Service members, as well as their families, caregivers, and others who support them.

  • Identification #: N/A
  • Date: 10/25/2019
  • Type: Memorandums
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DHA PI 6490.02: Behavioral Health (BH) Treatment and Outcomes Monitoring

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (k): a. Establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures for the collection and analysis of BH outcome data. b. Addresses how DoD will standardize BH outcome data collection to: assess variations in mental health and substance use care among in-garrison medical treatment facilities (MTFs) and clinics; assess the relationship of treatment protocols and practices to BH outcomes; and identify barriers to provider implementation of evidence-based clinical guidance approved by DoD. c. Designates the Army as the DoD lead Service for maintenance and sustainment of the Behavioral Health Data Portal (BHDP) in specialty care mental health and substance use clinics, referred to collectively as BH clinics, until BHDP functionality can be integrated with GENESIS or another electronic health record (EHR) system managed by DHA. d. Designates DHA Information Operations (J-6) as lead on transitioning BHDP functional requirements related to outcomes monitoring to future EHR data collection platforms and processes.

  • Identification #: DHA PI 6490.02
  • Date: 7/12/2018
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Warrior Care Month Recognition

Policy

In this memorandum, Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter recognizes November as Warrior Care Month, an important DoD-wide effort to increase awareness of programs and resources available to wounded, ill, and injured Service members, as well as their families, caregivers and others to support them.

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  • Date: 11/14/2016
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DoD Instruction 6490.10: Continuity of Behavioral Health Care for Transferring and Transitioning Service Members

Policy

In accordance with the authority in Reference (a), this Instruction establishes policy for the Military Departments, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes guidelines for establishment of Military Department policy and procedures to ensure continuity of behavioral health (BH) care at the losing and gaining installations when Service members transition from one health care provider (HCP) to another when transferring to a new duty station or transitioning out of the Service.

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  • Date: 10/28/2015
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DoDM 1332.18, Volume 3: Disability Evaluation System (DES) Manual: Quality Assurance Program (QAP)

Policy

This manual is composed of several volumes, each containing its own purpose. This volume assigns responsibilities and procedures for the DES QAP pursuant to section 524 of Public Law 112-239 (Reference (c)).

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DoD Instruction 6490.15: Integration of Behavioral Health Personnel (BHP) Services Into Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Primary Care and Other Primary Care Service Settings

Policy

This instruction establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for attainment of inter-Service standards for developing, initiating, and maintaining adult behavioral health services in primary care.

  • Identification #: DoD Instruction 6490.15
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DoDM 1332.18, Volume 1: Disability Evaluation System (DES) Manual: General Information and Legacy Disability Evaluation System (LDES) Time Standards

Policy

This manual is composed of several volumes, each containing its own purpose. The purpose of the overall manual, in accordance with the authority in DoD Directive 5124.02 (Reference (a)), is to implement policy, assign responsibilities, and provide procedures for the DES pursuant to DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1332.18 (Reference (b)).

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DoDM 1332.18, Volume 2: Disability Evaluation System (DES) Manual: Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES)

Policy

This manual is composed of several volumes, each containing its own purpose. The purpose of the overall manual, in accordance with the authority in DoD Directive 5136.01 (Reference (a)), is to implement policy, assign responsibilities, and provide procedures for the DES pursuant to DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1332.18 (Reference (b)).

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DoDI 1332.18: Disability Evaluation System (DES)

Policy

This instruction establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides procedures for referral, evaluation, return to duty, separation, or retirement of Service members for disability

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DoD Instruction 6490.05: Maintenance of Psychological Health in Military Operations

Policy

This instruction establishes policy and assigns responsibilities in accordance with References (c), (d), and (e) for developing combat and operational stress control (COSC) programs within the Military Departments, the Combatant Commands, and joint Service operations.

  • Identification #: DoD Instruction 6490.05
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DoD Instruction 6025.20: Medical Management (MM) Programs in the Direct Care System (DCS) and Remote Areas

Policy

Establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes uniform guidelines, procedures, and standards for the implementation of clinical case management (CM) in the Military Health System (MHS), for TRICARE beneficiaries including care of the wounded, ill, and injured (WII) in accordance with the authority in Reference (b) and DoDI 1300.24 (Reference (f)).

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DoD Instruction 6490.12: Mental Health Assessments for Service Members Deployed in Connection with a Contingency Operation

Policy

This instruction establishes the policy for person-to-person deployment mental health assessments for each member of the Military Services deployed in connection with a contingency operation according to Section 1074m of Title 10, United States Code (Reference (b)).

  • Identification #: DoD Instruction 6490.12
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DoD Instruction 6490.04: Mental Health Evaluations of Members of the Military Services

Policy

Reissues DoD Instruction 6490.4 (Reference (b)), establishing policy, assigning responsibilities, and prescribing procedures for the referral, evaluation, treatment, and medical and command management of Service members who may require assessment for mental health issues, psychiatric hospitalization, and risk of imminent or potential danger to self or others.

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