Together We Can Prevent Suicide


Suicide can affect anybody

Do you know somebody who has thought about or died by suicide? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is a top cause of death in the U.S. Suicide is a complex problem. It affects people from all backgrounds, age groups, races, education levels, and military ranks.

Many issues may contribute to suicide. Financial problems, divorce, and major health problems are some of these issues. For service members and veterans, deployment, combat, and/or transition-related issues may contribute to suicide risk. The CDC reports that most people who die by suicide don’t have a known mental health condition

You can help prevent suicide

No matter the contributing issues, suicide is a problem. The good news is that everybody can help prevent it. You don’t need special training to show concern for someone who might be suicidal. All you need is a genuine desire to help. You can voice your concerns to anyone who may be thinking about suicide and ask questions about what he or she may be thinking of doing. You can watch for warning signs. The most important thing you can do is to get professional help for anyone talking about suicide.

#BeThere: A suicide prevention campaign

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The Military Health System supports the #BeThere campaign, a joint Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs suicide prevention campaign. #BeThere is a reminder that everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention. 

You can help prevent suicide by staying in touch and spending time with your families and friends who might be at risk for suicide. It’s important to keep in touch with anyone you know who is struggling with life burdens, especially former or current service members. Someone in your family or group of friends may be thinking of suicide. You may not know it if you don’t ask.

TRICARE can help

TRICARE offers mental health care services for anyone coping with mental health issues, including those who have thoughts of suicide. Treatment can help individuals to better address life’s difficulties. TRICARE covers many mental health services like individual and family psychotherapy (talk therapy), substance use disorder treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization programs, and inpatient treatments. 

You may need a referral or prior authorization for some mental health care services. If admitted to a hospital, call your primary care manager, regional contractor, or TRICARE Overseas Program Regional Call Center for help with getting continued-stay authorization. Make this call within 24 hours of admission or during the next business day. Visit the TRICARE website to read more about the mental health care benefit, as well as how to get emergency or non-emergency care.

How you can help: Learn the warning signs

You can help prevent suicide by learning the warning signs. Don’t take them lightly and get help right away for anyone who is showing these signs. Don’t assume anybody is just asking for attention. Warning signs of suicide include:

  • Loss of hope: Hope allows us to push through life’s struggles because we know they won’t last forever. Someone who plans or wants to die by suicide has lost hope. He or she believes that the only way out of their struggles is to die.   
  • Suicidal talk: Someone thinking of suicide may talk about their plans. He or she may or may not tell you why he or she wants to die by suicide. They may talk about being a burden to others, feeling unbearable pain that they can’t escape, or having a desire for their life to end.   
  • Having a plan: Someone planning to die by suicide may share how he or she plans to take his or her own life. They may mention items, such as pills or weapons that he or she wants to use. If those items are available to him or her, he or she may need emergency help.   

Help is at your fingertips

If you know someone who is thinking about suicide, you can help him or her get free, confidential help. For life-threatening emergencies like a suicide attempt, call 911 or take the person to the nearest emergency roomThe hospital department that provides emergency services to patients who need immediate medical attention..

  • Military Crisis Line: Free, confidential support is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) and pressing 1. You can also send a text to 838255 or start an online chat.
  • inTransition: Free, confidential mental health coaching for service members making any type of transition, including transitioning into civilian life, is available 24/7. All service members can receive this coaching during service as well as up to 365 days after leaving service. Call 800-424-7877 or 800-424-4685 (DSN; outside of the U.S.).
  • TRICARE covers many types of mental health treatment to help people cope with all types of mental health issues, including those related to suicide.

You are not alone

TRICARE urges beneficiaries to seek help during times of difficulty. There is no shame in asking for help. There are many resources available for help. If you know someone who is carrying burdens that he or she can’t handle, encourage them to get help.

Last Updated 6/23/2020