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

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 | 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...

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 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

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

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

Suicide Prevention Resources Infographic

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Resources Infographic

Reach out for support. These clinical and nonclinical resources are available if you’re experiencing mental health issues. Mental Health is Health Care | Health.mil

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Main Graphic

Infographic
8/2/2022
National Suicide Prevention Awareness Main Graphic

September marks the beginning of Suicide Prevention Month. Visit our toolkit for products for you and your organization to promote suicide prevention resources: Suicide Prevention | Health.mil #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Infographic 3

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Infographic 3

September is #SuicidePreventionMonth. Recovery from suicide related thoughts or behaviors is possible. Often taking small steps to address problems early can make a big difference. Learn more about treatment options available: https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Centers-of-Excellence/Psychological-Health-Center-of-Excellence/PHCoE-Clinician-Resources/Suicide-Risk/Treatment-for-Suicide-related-Thoughts-and-Behaviors #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Infographic 2

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Infographic 2

Don’t wait until you’re in crisis. Get help early if you’re struggling with mental health issues Mental Health Care | TRICARE. #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Graphic 2

Infographic
8/2/2022
National Suicide Prevention Awareness Graphic 2

September marks the beginning of Suicide Prevention Month. Visit our toolkit for products for you and your organization to promote suicide prevention resources: Suicide Prevention | Health.mil #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Infographic 4

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Infographic 4

Treatment works - get help early to address mental health conditions before they worsen. www.health.mil/HereForYou #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Infographic
7/18/2022
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers 24/7, confidential support.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Suicide Prevention

Crisis Support Line

Infographic
7/14/2022
Crisis Support Line

988 24/7 Crisis Support Line

Recommended Content:

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

A Matter of Life or Death: Seeking Help and Overcoming

Article Around MHS
5/25/2022
Military personnel at computer

For Tech. Sgt. Jilayne Michelsen, a Command Post Control Operations Specialist, assigned to the Ohio National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing, having the ability to ask her husband for help during her darkest hour, saved her life, her family and her military career.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Depression

Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Resources Provide Help: You Are Not Alone

Article
4/22/2022
Military personnel posing for a picture

Life is full of ups and downs. But sometimes life events—financial strain, relationships, isolation, emotional or sexual abuse, stress, and misuse or abuse of alcohol or drugs—can lead to depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide for some. It’s important to remember that you are not alone.

Recommended Content:

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

People First priority for BJACH Behavioral Health Suicide Prevention Program

Article Around MHS
12/1/2021
Chuck Satterfield and Staff Sgt. Lori Fury hosting a training

Behavioral health professionals from Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital conducted leadership development training with the 519th Military Police Battalion at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, Louisiana in mid-November.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Suicide Prevention | Suicide Prevention
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 6
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 18, 2022

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.