September is Suicide Prevention Month

  • Published
  • By Jill Barrett, Director of Psychological Health
  • 108th Wing


The Air Force and the 108th Wing are committed to preventing suicide among service members, their families, Department of Defense civilians, and veterans. The rate of deaths by suicide of Air Force members has been increasing this year and we are losing significantly more members to suicide than to military conflict.  The 108th Wing will be conducting an Air Force-wide Resilience Tactical Pause during the December drill weekend to get help in problem solving and planning how to defeat this enemy.

We will be conducting more in depth work in December, but let us take time during September’s Suicide Prevention Month to protect ourselves and others from suicide. This year’s Suicide Prevention Month theme, Small Steps Save Lives, focuses on safety precautions that service members and their families can put in place to reduce the risk of suicide.

Research has shown that the strongest protective factors against risk of suicide are a sense of purpose in life and having connection to others.  Protect yourself and others by connecting and caring.

Additionally, the majority of military suicide deaths involve a firearm, and medications are the most common method of non-fatal suicide attempts. The act of suicide can be impulsive. The time a person goes from thinking about suicide to acting on it can be less than 10 minutes. Storing medications and firearms safely every day is an effective way to mitigate the risk of an impulsive act of suicide.

There are a number of tips for storing firearms and medications safely that can be easily implemented and will improve safety for all members of the family.

Safe firearms storage ideas include:

 Securing firearms outside the home.

 Using a gunlock or safe if you chose to secure a firearm inside the home.

 Storing firearms and ammunition separately.

 Keeping your firearm locking keys secure by using a combo lock box or in a separate safe.

Safe medication storage ideas include:

 Storing all medications under lock and key in a medications storage container.

 Discarding outdated or no longer needed medications.

 Keeping only small quantities of alcohol in the home.

 Not keeping lethal doses of medication on hand.

As we head into the September drill weekend, we encourage you to think about how you can #BeThere for our military community who may be at risk for suicide.

Add the following 24-hour numbers to your contact list so it’s handy if you ever need it.

Veterans/Military Crisis Line 800-273-8255

NJ Hopeline 855-654-6735

Crisis Text Line 741741