Dear Suicide Prevention Allies,
September is one of the busiest times of the year at DSPO. Each year we develop and execute the Suicide Prevention Month observance campaign on behalf of the Department of Defense. It is this time of year where we emphasize the importance of providing education and suicide prevention resources to our Service members, Veterans, their families and DoD civilians. We encourage the Services, Installations, Units, and all individuals to get involved, to #BeThere, not just for others but for yourself as well.
This website provides you with valuable resources to inform and educate the public on how anyone can take actions to support someone in a crisis and also save a life.
In addition, here are some ways you can join in and promote Suicide Prevention Month:
If you know of someone in a crisis the Military/Veteran Crisis Line, is confidential and free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and available to all Service members, Veterans, and their families, including members of the National Guard and Reserve. Seek help immediately by contacting 800-273- 8255 (press 1), online chat (www.militarycrisisline.net), or text (838255).
2018 SPM Kick-Off Ceremony Video Available HERE
On September 6, 2018 the acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Ms. Stephanie A. Barna, delivered a powerful message to Service members, Veterans, their families and DoD civilians ... "You are not alone... Any time is a good time to seek help... We need you here with us" at the 2018 DoD/VA Suicide Prevention Month Ceremony.
2018 SPM Kick-Off Ceremony Photography Available HERE
On September 25, 2018, DSPO hosted a Suicide Prevention Month Resource Fair at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. We had several organizations participating in this year’s Resource Fair, including Army Behavioral Health, National Military Family Association, Real Warriors, Semper Fi Fund, and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. In addition, we distributed materials for the Columbia Lighthouse Project and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Resource Fair was a resounding success. We’d like to give a special thanks to Colonel Clinton Schreckhise, Chief of Staff of Fort Belvoir's Community Hospital for letting us host this fair at the hospital, and thanks to the rest of the exhibitors and participants who helped us to observe Suicide Prevention Month.
This toolkit is designed for you and your organization to use to show your support for the DoD Suicide Prevention Month campaign.
In appreciation of your concentrated efforts in 2018, DSPO will conduct its annual DoD Suicide Prevention Month Outreach Recognition to honor one exemplary installation from each of the Services and one from either the Reserves or National Guard. This recognition honors the installations with the most dedicated and influential suicide prevention program, which commemorates the observance.
Suicide Prevention Month Kicks Off With Vital Message:
You’re Strong, You’re Ready, You’re Essential
Each year, the Defense Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO) develops and executes a Suicide Prevention Month campaign on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD). Through outreach engagement events, the Department emphasizes the importance of providing suicide prevention education and resources to our Service members, Veterans, their families, and DoD civilians.
The DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) co-hosted a Suicide Prevention Month Ceremony at the Pentagon in the Hall of Heroes on 6 September. Remarks were provided by Ms. Stephanie Barna, Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and Dr. Carolyn Clancy, the Deputy Under Secretary for Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks for the Veterans Health Administration. Both speeches were a call to action highlighting the Departments’ suicide prevention theme; “You’re Strong, You’re Ready, You’re Essential, Make it your Mission to #BeThere” for Service members, Veterans, their families, and DoD civilians. In her remarks, Ms. Barna reflected on the somber nature of Suicide Prevention Month and shared the words of a Gold Star spouse who, more than 8 years later, is still dealing with the loss of her husband and father to their now 12-year-old son. The Under Secretary also offered words of hope and inspiration, “sadness, anger, fear, and loneliness . . . can touch each and everyone one of us” but “we must never forget or forego the power of human connection” and that “your decision to #BeThere can provide the human connection that makes a healing difference in the life of another.”
During the ceremony, Ms. Barna presented this year’s Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service award to Columbia University professor, Dr. Kelly Posner. Dr. Posner received this award in recognition of her exceptional public service through her support to the DoD’s suicide prevention program. Dr. Posner dedicated countless hours to personally train Service members and their families throughout the country on the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale – a simple-to-use tool for assessing suicide risk.
The ceremony officially kicked-off Suicide Prevention Month activities for the Department, which included:
September 12: Dialogue with DSPO webinar, featuring Dr. Michael Anestis, Director of the University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Psychology's Suicide and Emotion Dysregulation Laboratory
September 19: The Bush Institute, Wounded Warrior Project, DoD and VA hosted Suicide Prevention Awareness Facebook Live at the Bush Institute
September 25: Suicide Prevention Resource Fair at Fort Belvoir
Today and every day remember to take the steps to #BeThere for yourselves and others. First, Ask: Ask the question “Are you OK? How can I help?” Second, #BeThere: Be accessible, be supportive, be genuine. Lastly, Connect: Connect them to resources that can help. Make it your mission to #BeThere and know your resources:
The Military/Veteran Crisis Line, is confidential and free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and available to all Service members, Veterans, and their families, including members of the National Guard and Reserve. Seek help immediately by contacting by phone at 800-273-8255 (press 1), online chat (www.militarycrisisline.net), or text (838255).
Military OneSource is a confidential DoD-funded program providing comprehensive information on every aspect of military life at no cost to active duty, Guard and Reserve Component members, and their families. Information includes, but is not limited to, peer to peer, deployment, reunion, relationship, grief, spouse employment and education, parenting and childhood, and much more. Website: www.militaryonesource.mil; Phone: 1-800-342-9647.
DSPO’s website provides information regarding leadership, mission and vision. You can download the DSPO toolkit as well as watch PSAs. You will also find additional links and resources to support you and/or your organization’s suicide prevention efforts. DSPO’s website is: www.dspo.mil.
Suicide Prevention Month Toolkit: To assist with outreach on suicide prevention, DSPO developed a central hub for suicide prevention materials at www.suicidestopshere.gov where materials can be downloaded and shared.
The Defense Suicide Prevention Office does not provide crisis services. If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Veteran/Military Crisis Line for immediate assistance.