Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

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.)

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Warrior Care | Total Force Fitness

“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/.

You also may be interested in...

Following Report, DOD to Redouble Suicide Prevention Efforts

Article Around MHS
10/5/2021
A person helps another person up.

Following a recent report about suicide, the DOD redouble efforts to prevent suicides.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Suicide Prevention Resources

Mental health is health says SECDEF: AF Academy tackles suicide prevention

Article Around MHS
10/1/2021
National Suicide Prevention Month yellow poster

September marks National Suicide Prevention Month

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention

Resources to help those left behind in wake of suicide

Article Around MHS
9/16/2021
A cell phone is used to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which provides free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, also features information on its website for loss survivors and how to support someone who has lost a loved one.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention

Osan's mental health team connects with Airmen

Article Around MHS
9/16/2021
L. Diane Heard, 51st Munitions Squadron, violence prevention integrator, sits at her desk at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

Osan’s violence prevention team is finding ways to reach out to the Airmen who need them, keeping with the current motto of “Connect to Protect.”

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention

It's Okay to Ask for Help

Article Around MHS
9/8/2021
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.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Suicide Prevention - Connect to Protect: Help is Within Reach

Connect to Protect During Suicide Prevention Month in September

Article Around MHS
9/7/2021
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.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Suicide Prevention - Connect to Protect: Help is Within Reach
Showing results 1 - 6 Page 1 of 1

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.