The Value of Suicide Prevention for Recovering Service Members and Their Families

September is Suicide Prevention Month, and Warrior Care has collaborated with the Department of Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO) to provide the Recovering Military Community with the right knowledge and resources. DSPO provides information on how suicide can effect everyone, and the importance of postvention for suicide loss survivors.

“Suicide is complex and multi-factored”

– Department of Suicide Prevention

            September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Suicide affects everyone, and with more knowledge about suicide prevention, many of us are able to get the help ourselves or for a loved one. The DoD Warrior Care Recovery Coordination Program focuses on the recovery and reintegration of wounded, ill, and/or injured Service Members, Military Caregivers, and their families. Many across our nation are feeling the stress, disconnectedness, and financial insecurity that COVID-19 has brought, and for some this increases the risk of suicide. Warrior Care and The Department of Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO) want to provide everyone with the knowledge and resources you can use to help prevent suicide.

            Wounded, ill, and/or injured Service Members, Military Caregivers, and their families, who are in the process to their recovery and/or transitioning into the civilian world during this pandemic, are known to experience high stress levels that’s can lead to an increase for suicide risk. When your loved ones begin experiencing signs of excessive moodiness or sadness, change in personality or appearance, and dangerous harmful behavior; it is a sign to get help. Social connectedness and a sense of belonging improve mental, physical and emotional well-being. It may seem hard to stay connected when we are being told to practice social-distancing, and being isolated when recovering from COVID-19, but it is possible. Our programs provide virtual support forums and virtual wellness activities to keep you and the family feeling connected and active.

            Those who do die from suicide never know how it affects their families and friends. Suicide loss survivors are impacted after losing a loved one and suffer the same grief as other survivors. Also, a suicide is associated with increased risk for mental health concerns based on the type and length of relationship for the survivor had with them. The risk of suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress increase for the survivors. Postvention is what happens after a suicide activity (physical or mental) that occurs, and how to recover and heal among those affected. Postvention is a positive step towards preventing the negative effects of suicide exposure.

            Due to COVID-19 regulations, everyone is practicing social distancing, quarantine, or isolation, but help is available. The Department of Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO) provides suicide prevention outreach and educational information for the Military Community. The National Resource Directory (NRD.gov) provides an archive of resources for Service Members, Veterans, and Military families, including suicide prevention and postvention resources.  There are also 24/7 free, confidential services such as the Veteran Crisis Line or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or Military OneSource’s 24/7 Call Center. Support is available to all Service Members, Veterans, Military Caregivers, and Military families.

            Coronavirus has upended our everyday lives and has even affected our daily routines, but that doesn’t provide you with a free pass to ignore you or a loved one’s mental health. Finding healthy ways to cope with stress during this time will help us to remain strong. Also, remember that you’re not alone! The DoD Warrior Care program touches on every aspect of the Recovering Service Member’s transition including education and employment opportunities, therapeutic recreational involvement, and support for Military Caregivers. We understand the importance of taking care of your mental and physical health, and with the help of the Department Suicide Prevention Office, we can provide valuable information for suicide prevention and how suicide impacts family and friends.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Veteran/Military Crisis Line for immediate assistance at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1), or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255