• Oct 7, 2022
  • 5:12 AM

Suicide Prevention – What To Do


Suicide Prevention is Everyone's Business

S.A.V.E. stands for “Signs,” “Ask,” “Validate,” and “Encourage and Expedite."

Signs of suicidal thinking should be recognized

Signs of suicidal thinking should be recognized

Ask the most important question of all – Are you thinking of killing yourself?

There are behaviors that may be signs a Veteran needs support. Know how to ask the most important question of all:

     “Are you thinking of killing yourself?"

Other ways to ask the question include:

     “Are you thinking of suicide?"
     “Have you had thoughts about taking your own life?"

When asking the question, remember:

  • DO ask the question if you've identified warning signs or symptoms
  • DO ask the question in such a way that is natural and flows with the conversation
  • DO NOT ask the question as though you are looking for a “no" answer (“You're not thinking of killing yourself, are you?")
  • DO NOT wait to ask the question until he or she is halfway out the door.

Validate the Veteran's experience

As you listen to the Veteran, ask him or her do the talking and use supportive, encouraging comments. Use the following steps to let the Veteran know that you are listening and acknowledge his or her experience.

  • Talk openly about suicide – Be willing to listen and allow the Veteran to express his or her feelings
  • Recognize the situation is serious
  • Do not pass judgement
  • Reassure them that help is available.

Encourage treatment and expedite getting help

If a Veteran is having suicidal thoughts, remain calm and reassure them that help is available.

  • DO NOT keep the Veteran's suicidal behavior a secret
  • DO NOT leave him or her alone
  • Try to get the person to seek immediate help from his or her doctor or the nearest hospital or emergency room, OR
  • Call 911

You can also call the confidential Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.

 VA S.A.V.E. training can help you if you encounter a Veteran in crisis:

To learn more about what to do to help a Veteran in crisis Training & Resources HERE

SUICIDE IS A NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE THAT AFFECTS PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE. SUICIDE IS A COMPLEX ISSUE WITH NO SINGLE CAUSE AND WE ARE COMMITTED TO ENDING VETERAN SUICIDE. Click below to see the statistics.