Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2021), 51(2), 334-343. SIEC No: 20230079
Background Suicide is a serious and growing public health concern, both for the United States (U.S.) and for the Department of Defense (DoD). Methods Using the social–ecological framework, we provide examples of how three newly developed, DoD-funded pilots/programs have incorporated a public health approach to help prevent military suicide. Key Results The first two programs demonstrate how non-clinical, community-based approaches can be tailored to specific military subgroups at the individual, relational, and community levels. These programs include a universal suicide prevention program developed for Special Operations service members, spouses, and mental health providers, and a selective suicide prevention program pilot developed for military chaplains to support them in their role as a “gateway” to care for distressed service members, improve mental health and chaplaincy collaboration, and prevent burnout. The third program illustrates how the creation of and policy of a methodology/infrastructure to conduct standardized, theory-driven suicide death reviews across the DoD may inform the DoD public health approach to surveillance, review, and synthesis of suicide data, informed by the social–ecological model. Potential program limitations and evaluation efforts are discussed. Conclusion Future prevention approaches should enhance coordination and communication between DoD, VA, and community organizations to enhance multi-level suicide prevention programming for military personnel, veterans, and civilians.