• DCoE Collaborates with ‘The USAA Educational Foundation’ on New Suicide Prevention Publication
    [PDF] The USAA Educational Foundation: Suicide Prevention

    Suicide is the leading cause of violent death in the United States, and service members are taking their own lives at an unprecedented rate. As such, suicide has become a major concern for our nation and our military. In an effort to provide useful suicide prevention information and resources to service members and their families, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), in collaboration with the Suicide Prevention and Risk Reduction Committee (SPaRRC) and The USAA Educational Foundation, is releasing the educational publication “Suicide Prevention”.

    This publication outlines what steps service members can take to help themselves or others who may be at risk, including:

    • Contact information for different suicide prevention programs
    • Important steps for service members and veterans
    • How to help someone in crisis
  • Save the Date: Third Annual DoD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference
    U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jason A. Young

    The third annual Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) joint Suicide Prevention Conference, "All the Way Home: Preventing Suicide Among Service members and Veterans" is scheduled for March 14-17, 2011 in Boston.

    The conference will include an engaging and informative series of panels and break-out groups led by various speakers involved in suicide prevention and intervention.
    This is an opportunity to enhance, share and build upon best practices, community-based tools and support systems across the armed forces and VA. We’ll focus on four tracks for practical applications and innovations in the area of suicidology:

    • Clinical
    • Multidisciplinary
    • Family / Peer-to-Peer
    • Research
  • SPARRC Launched New Website Dedicated to Suicide Prevention

    The Suicide Prevention and Risk Reduction Committee (SPARRC) launched on Oct. 1, 2010. This website streamlines suicide prevention resources for easy access to a clearinghouse of information. It serves as a comprehensive resource with access to hotlines, treatments, programs, forums and multimedia designed to support all service members, veterans, families and health professionals. Additionally, you can find links to service-specific suicide prevention resources as well as reliable and accurate information on a range of suicide prevention related topics.

    The Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) are committed to addressing the problem of suicide. SPARRC is chaired by DCoE and is the forum for inter-service and VA partnership and coordination, and provides a venue for the services, VA and many other subject matter experts to address the issue of suicide in a collaborative environment. Thus, the new website provides valuable insight into the positive and ongoing work that SPARRC, the services and VA are doing for suicide prevention.

  • Did You Miss DCoE’s Monthly Webinar on Suicide Prevention?
    Suicide Prevention

    Last week DCoE continued its month-long observance of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month with a webinar that drew more than 300 participants. As chief prevention division of the Resilience and Prevention Directorate at DCoE, I had the wonderful opportunity to host this event.

    As part of the DCoE Monthly Webinar series, this event featured two speakers. Dr. Rajeev Ramchand, a behavioral scientist with the RAND Corporation, provided a comprehensive overview of Department of Defense (DoD) suicide prevention programs and practices as outlined in the RAND report. While this report has yet to be released, those interested in receiving a copy should e-mail Dr. Ramchand at

    Additionally, Col. JoAnne McPherson, DoD Task Force secretary, presented an overview of the DoD Suicide Prevention Task Force report, released in August 2010. Compiled by a congressionally-mandated group of experts, this report looked into military suicides and presented recommendations to address the issue.

  • Participate in DCoE’s Monthly Webinar: Preventing Suicide Among Service Members and Veterans

    Suicide is a reality in the military community; therefore, DCoE and other Department of Defense organizations have increased efforts to educate service members, their families and friends on the warning signs of suicide and preventative measures. During the month of September, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, DCoE has amplified the availability of suicide related information, resources and events.

    Military service can prove very stressful for service members and their families. Heightened stress levels can lead to feelings of despair, hopelessness, rage — risk factors for suicide. It is important to remember, though, that there are resources available to reduce stress and ease burdens associated with military service.

    Join us Sept. 23 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. as we highlight major aspects of suicide in the military and discuss the current suicide prevention initiatives across DoD and the civilian sector. Speakers include Rajeev Ramchand of the RAND Suicide Prevention Study and Col. Joanne McPherson of the DoD Task Force.

  • Navy Live Features Prevention Branch Chief USPHS Capt. Janet Hawkins
    USPHS Capt. Janet Hawkins

    As we continue to watch the number of suicides among military members increase at an unprecedented rate, we must also step up all efforts to educate and prevent future suicides. Taking care of our servicemembers calls for enhanced efforts throughout the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and the community. We’re all in this fight together – as we bring our servicemembers home safe, we want to keep them safe.

    As the chair of the Suicide Prevention and Risk Reduction Committee (SPARRC), I am proud to have the opportunity to lead a federal and non-federal collaborative effort to examine military suicide, standardize reporting and develop future prevention initiatives with experts in the field. SPARRC includes representatives from across the armed forces and military service suicide prevention programs – Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and National Guard. We are all learning from each other—sharing lessons learned and best practices about suicide prevention. I encourage you to check out the service-specific suicide prevention resources that are available to you.

    Continue reading USPHS Cmdr. Janet Hawkins’ post on Navy Live.