September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

  • Published
  • By Tandra Hunter

This year, the Department of Defense theme is, "Small Steps Save Lives," which focuses on the small changes service members and their families can make at home. The most common method of military suicides are deaths by firearm. In addition, medications lead in non-fatal suicide attempts. "Small Steps Save Lives" puts the emphasis on habits and practices. “Make it Your Mission to #BeThere,” is the DoD tagline that reinforces the call to action that everyone—leaders, service members and their support network—has a role in supporting suicide prevention.

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein reported that 78 Airmen have died by suicide so far this year. The Air Force must continue to take a stance on suicide prevention and each of us can play a part in recognizing and helping those at risk. Suicide is a complex issue that takes a toll on each and every one of us. Prevention is critical in getting ahead of this public health issue; leaders must take time out to know their Airmen. Talking openly and honestly about emotional distress and suicide is very important. If you are concerned about someone, simply ask them if they are ok. The ACE method (Ask, Care, Escort) is a great way to make that connection, and will guide you through this situation.

If you, or someone you know, is thinking about harming themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK and press 1.

Please join the Violence Prevention Office at the Chat and Chew; a free event that will provide an opportunity for individuals to speak openly about preventing suicides.