Skip to main content

Military Health System

Suicide is Preventable and Should Be Treated Like a Health Problem

Image of Drunk man sits on sofa with his head in his hands. He is in mental pain. Suicide awareness is a serious issue. If you are having suicidal thoughts or plans, seek help. Time is of the essence.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention

Suicide is a health issue that needs to be treated to reduce risks – similar to the way heart disease needs treatment to prevent a heart attack, said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Alexander Silva, non-commissioned officer in charge of the Mental Health Clinic, 316th Medical Squadron, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C.

"Suicide can be prevented," Silva said, and should be destigmatized within our entire culture.

"There is no single cause and that's the biggest takeaway."

One-quarter of all Americans will experience a mental health issue, but "don't think they are doomed to die by suicide," Silva said. He spoke at a Sept. 16 Defense Health Agency event at headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia, part of awareness events that were held throughout National Suicide Prevention Week corresponding to World Suicide Prevention Day, which is recognized annually on Sept. 10. He was speaking in his capacity as a representative of a suicide prevention organization.

Health factors often play a role in suicide, especially after life-changing events such as chronic pain from a car accident, Silva said.

While many think of depression as a trigger for suicide, Silva emphasized that "anxiety is a major factor," as are substance use disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and personality disorders. "It's not just depression."

However, "those in mental health care have a much lower risk of suicide" than those who are not, he said.

Noting that there is "a lot of circumstantial evidence" about suicide that has been compiled over the last few decades, Silva said: "Hopefully, we can move toward harder, empirical evidence in an attempt to decrease suicide rates.

Time is Most Important in a Crisis

He also suggested that "all people should go through therapy" at some point in their lives. "Only 2 in 5 with a mental health condition seek treatment," Silva noted.

"The most important thing about suicide prevention is time," he told the audience.

If you are with a person in crisis "don't leave that person alone." Talk to them and keep the focus on that person. Ask them: "How would you do it if you did want to do it?" Silva suggested.

Get them help right away, and talk to them directly about whether they are actively contemplating suicide. It can be an "uncomfortable conversation," but one that must be had, Silva suggested. "Time will bring the suicidal crisis down."

"It's easy to confuse being a therapist and being a support system," he said. "Avoid trying to convince them that life is worth living. Avoid advice on how to fix the situation." Instead, he said: "Validate and ask for more information and listen."

"We have a moral duty to protect each other," said United States Public Health Service Capt. Meghan Corso, chief, Defense Health Agency Behavioral Health Clinical Operations. "And, there is no wrong door to seeking help," be it a financial advisor, faith leader, or mental health professional, she told the audience.

The Risks of Firearms

DOD data show the most common lethal means of suicide is personal firearms.

Half of all suicides in the United States are due to firearms, Silva added.

Data show that "storing a loaded firearm in the house makes suicide four to six times more likely," Silva said.

The most important thing is "to put distance and time between firearms and a person in crisis," he said. "When you increase the distance, there is some cool-down time." That means locking personal firearms away. "That's because for every suicide, we have 25 attempts."

For help for you, a loved one, or a friend, contact:

National Suicide Prevention Week is an annual week-long campaign in the United States to inform and engage health professionals and the general public about suicide prevention and signs of suicide.

By drawing attention to the problem of suicide, the campaign strives to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic, as well as encourage the pursuit of mental health assistance support for people who have attempted or are contemplating suicide.

You also may be interested in...

Suicide Prevention Draws Awareness at Madigan

Article Around MHS
9/27/2022
Command Sgt. Maj. Albert Harris speaking at Madigan Army Medical Center

The numbers shock and offend the senses – roughly one active duty service member ends their life each day; add in Reserve and National Guard components and the number rises to an average of 1.5 per day. Madigan Army Medical Center’s Department of Behavioral Health hosted a National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month event on September 22, to raise awareness among the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., community and honor those who have passed.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention | Psychological Fitness

Suicide Prevention: A Message from Lt. Gen. Place

Video
9/23/2022
Suicide Prevention: A Message from Lt. Gen. Place

The Director of the Defense Health Agency, Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, gives a message on Suicide Prevention. Service members’ lives are different from the lives of civilians. Relocations, deployments, time away from family, and stressful experiences related to combat can increase suicide risk. Suicide prevention remains a top priority for the DOD and the Military Health System. All Military Health System providers are trained to identify suicide warning signs. We’ve developed evidence-based tools for suicide risk assessment and care across every single military hospital and clinic. And if help is needed, we’re committed to ensuring our patients get the health care they've earned. Working together we can all help reduce the risk and prevent suicides.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Mental Health is Health Care

September is Suicide Prevention Month

Article Around MHS
9/22/2022
Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. his year’s theme is “Be The One To Stop Suicide Before It Starts.” The month is set aside each year to bring heightened awareness to suicide prevention.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention

H2F Making a Difference, Tackling the Whole Approach to Care

Article Around MHS
9/15/2022
Military personnel with H2F emblem

Suicide Prevention Month officially kicked off with a suicide survivor panel at the Fort Bragg Soldier and Family Readiness Group Center

Recommended Content:

Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Nutritional Fitness | Suicide Prevention | Spiritual Fitness | Sleep | Mental Health is Health Care

Suicide Prevention Month

Article Around MHS
9/14/2022
Infographic for #BeThere campaign

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

Recommended Content:

Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention | Mental Health is Health Care

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Expands Opportunities to Help

Article Around MHS
9/9/2022
Infographic for Military Crisis Lifeline

The nationwide kickoff of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, operated 24/7, provides a new tool that expands the opportunities for professional counseling.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

#BeThere_Marine Mark Wahlberg & Will Ferrell

Article Around MHS
9/7/2022
Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell

PSA video with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell bringing attention to suicide prevention and promoting the DSTRESS Line and Community Counseling Centers.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Health Center of Excellence | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Mental Health is Health Care

#BeThere - September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Article Around MHS
9/7/2022
#BeThere infographic for Suicide Awareness Month

Suicide rates among military members continue to increase year after year.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

Suicide Awareness Month Reminder: Seek Help for PTSD

Article
9/2/2022
Graphic of warfighters on patrol with the caption Not All Wounds are Visible .PTSD Awareness

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a real mental health issue. Be aware and seek help.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Suicide Prevention | Psychological Fitness | In the Spotlight

Suicide Prevention: A Message from CSM Gragg

Video
8/25/2022
Suicide Prevention: A Message from CSM Gragg

A message from CSM Michael A. Gragg regarding suicide prevention and how to get help.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Depression | Suicide Prevention | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE

Suicide Prevention: One Mother's Story

Video
8/25/2022
Suicide Prevention: One Mother's Story

Virginia Cooper's son, Joshua Jaymes Wood, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, was 30 years old when he took his life on November 7, 2021. This is her story.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Suicide Prevention | Depression

July MHS Minute

Video
8/9/2022
July MHS Minute

The July MHS Minute highlights a dedicated webpage for women's health to educate women and their partners on the health care services and resources available to them. Visit https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Total-Force-Fitness/Preventive-Health/Womens-Health to learn more. Additionally, learn more about the new national suicide and crisis lifeline, 988.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Suicide Prevention | Psychological Fitness

Suicide Prevention Infographic 1

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Infographic 1

Seeking help early can help prevent a crisis. Learn more about the treatment options and resources available to get help: www.health.mil/HereForYou #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Infographic 6

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Infographic 6

If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, there are nonclinical resources available. Chaplains and Mental Health | Health.mil #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Infographic 5

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Infographic 5

Don’t wait until you’re in crisis to get help. www.health.mil/HereForYou #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 6
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 17, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery