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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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There are many options for support available to those who are having thoughts of suicide and those around them.

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Suicide is Preventable and Should Be Treated Like a Health Problem

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Ask the Doc: I've Got a Friend I'm Worried About – What Should I Do?

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Photo By Tech. Sgt. Victor J. Caputo | September is Suicide Prevention Month, with September 5 through 11 marking National Suicide Prevention Week. While it is every Airman's duty to watch out for their wingmen, it is also important for Airmen to understand the vast amount of resources available to them if they are experiencing their own personal crisis. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Tech. Sgt. Victor J. Caputo)

This commentary reflects the author’s personal experiences seeking mental health treatment. His experience is not necessarily reflective of any other individual’s experiences, which can vary due to any number of factors, including past experiences, family history, AFSC, or special qualifications.

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Photo By Eleanor Prohaska | Photo by David Shipton. Participating and volunteering in clubs and organizations like Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, the USO and intra-mural sports is a good way to make and build connections. Shown here, Soldiers from the 30th Medical Brigade and Religious Support Office, SPC Hannah Konkel, SPC Samuil Matveev, SPC Miguel Contreras and SPC Jessica Baatz, take part in a BOSS-sponsored auto skills workshop.

How do you connect with others, and why is that important? Research shows that social connection improves physical, emotional, and mental health. It can also reduce the likelihood someone will consider or attempt suicide.

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Use these helpful tools and resources if you or someone you know is in crisis.

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Start the Conversation

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It’s not always obvious when someone is experiencing depression or thinking about suicide. In this video, learn how you can identify signs of distress and take action by starting the conversation about getting help.

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