Suicide Prevention is Everyone's Business!

Contributed by Krista Stephenson RN, MSN VA Deputy National Suicide Prevention Coordinator

A man contemplating suicide

People experience emotional and mental health crises in response to a wide range of situations. This can range from problems in their personal relationships to the loss of a job. For Veterans, these crises can be heightened by their experiences in military service. Sometimes, a crisis may involve thoughts of suicide.

Some suicides can happen without any warning. However, most people who are suicidal do give warning signs. Learn to recognize when someone is at risk. Take the warning signs seriously.

If you are thinking about suicide, please pick up the phone and call Veterans CrisisLine

Warning signs include

  • Hopelessness, feeling like there is no way out
  • Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings
  • Feeling like there is no reason to live
  • Rage or anger
  • Engaging in risky activities without thinking
  • Increasing alcohol or drug abuse
  • Withdrawing from family and friends

Warning signs that requires immediate attention

  • Thinking about hurting or killing one's self
  • Looking for ways to kill yourself
  • Talking about death, dying or suicide
  • Self-destructive behavior such as drug abuse, weapons, and so on

Every suicide is tragic. No matter what the numbers or rates, one suicide is too many. The VA understands why some Veterans may be at increased risk. Knowing this, we continue to look for warning signs and take immediate action. The goal of the VA is to eliminate suicides among Veterans.

Learn More

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline and online chat. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or chat online to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide and those impacted by suicide.

Survivors of Suicide Fact Sheet (PDF) the loss of a loved one by suicide is often shocking, painful and unexpected. The grief that ensues can be intense, complex, and long term.

Survivors of Suicide provides helpful tips for dealing with the loss of a loved one


Updated/Reviewed: September 1, 2011