Objective There is an urgent need to identify ways to reduce rates of suicide among Veterans with a substance use disorder. Since co-occurring disorders can make diagnosis and treatment complex, it is useful for the mental health field to examine common factors that may underlie both problems. One common factor that underlies both substance use and suicidal behavior is shame. This brief report presents data collected in an experimental study examining shame as an acute risk factor for suicide and substance use in Veterans. Method Thirty-eight Veterans admitted to an inpatient Veterans Affairs Medical Center unit with suicidal ideation completed measures on depression, hopelessness, addiction, and suicidality. Participants were randomized to either a shame mood induction group or a control group, and completed pre- and postexperiment measures on urges for suicide, urges for substance use, and level of shame. Results Results indicate that an acute increase in shame resulted in an increase in an urge for suicide, but was not associated with changes in urges for substance use. Conclusions Acute feelings of shame may be a risk factor for increases in suicidal ideation. Limitations and suggestions for future directions are discussed.