VA Mental Health – Health Care Providers Addressing Suicide Risk
Health Care Provider
A number of resources are available to health care providers who work with Veterans and may be concerned about a Veteran experiencing a suicidal crisis.
Training for Health Care Providers
This website offers free training for communities and health care providers on the Columbia Protocol, which is used for suicide risk assessments.
VA strongly advises the use of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) when treating patients, including the assessment and management of Veterans at risk for suicide.
Our partners at PsychArmor Institute offer free military competence training to educate individuals about the unique needs of people in the military community.
VA providers and community providers who work with Veterans can receive free, one-on-one consultation to enhance their therapeutic practice. To get started, email SRMconsult@va.gov.
Create an account on VA’s tool, TRAIN, to access courses and documents on many topics, including suicide prevention.
VA S.A.V.E. — which stands for “Signs,” “Ask,” “Validate,” and “Encourage” and “Expedite” — offers simple steps that anyone can take when talking with Veterans who may be at risk for suicide. The training video is available for free at https://psycharmor.org/courses/s-a-v-e.
From Science to Practice
From Science to Practice is a literature review series to help clinicians put suicide prevention research into action. The series translates evidence-based research into informative and practical steps that health care providers can take to help support their Veteran patients. The series describes a number of suicide risk and protective factors. No single risk or protective factor on its own causes or protects against suicide.
- Address Moral Injury to Reduce Veteran Suicide Risk
- Alcohol Use Disorder and Suicide Among Veterans
- Alleviating Financial Strain to Reduce Suicide Risk
- The Effect of Unemployment on Suicide Risk
- Healthy Ways to Cope With Emotional Distress Are Important for Suicide Prevention
- Heightened Risk for Suicide Among Veterans Who Have Experienced Homelessness
- Help With Readjustment and Social Support Needed for Veterans Transitioning From Miltary Service
- Help Veterans Overcome Barriers to Mental Health Treatment
- Helping Veterans Who Have Been Exposed to Interpersonal Violence
- How Women’s Reproductive Cycles and Sexual Health Affect Their Suicide Risk
- Improving the Safety of Lethal Means Prevents Suicide
- Justice System-Involved Veterans at Increased Risk for Suicide
- Loneliness — A Risk Factor for Suicide
- Managing Chronic Illness to Protect Against Suicide Risk
- Managing Chronic Pain May Protect Against Suicide Risk
- Military Sexual Trauma — A Risk Factor for Suicide
- Opioid Use and Suicide Risk
- Postvention as Prevention: Understanding the Impact of Suicide
- Preliminary Risk Factors Associated with Suicide Among Veterans
- Preventing Suicidal Behavior After Traumatic Brain Injury
- Preventing Suicide Among Veterans with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and Related Identities
- Promoting the Whole Health for Life Model
- Social Support and Belongingness as Protective Factors
- Suicide Among Women Veterans: Risk Factors Associated With Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being
- Suicide Risk in Veterans with Substance Use Disorder
- Treating Sleep Disturbances May Help Prevent Suicide
- Understanding Mental Health and Suicide Risk Among Veteran Caregivers
- Understanding Nonsuicidal Self-Injury and Suicide Risk Among Veterans
- Understanding and Preventing Suicide in Older Veterans
- Understanding the Relationship Between Altitude and Suicide Risk
- Understanding the Role of Geography in Suicide Risk
- Veterans Ages 18-34 May Require More Intensive Clinical Assessment To Prevent Suicide
Health care providers can find more information about suicide prevention in the Community Provider Toolkit.
Resources To Share With Veterans
Veterans can search for free VA apps that provide tools and information for managing symptoms and stress, learning to practice mindfulness, and strengthening parenting skills.
Each VA medical center has a Suicide Prevention Coordinator to connect Veterans with counseling and services.
This self-help portal provides tools to help Veterans overcome everyday challenges in an entirely anonymous environment. Using the tools, Veterans can work on problem-solving, manage their anger, develop parenting skills, and more.
In Clinicians’ Own Words
Clinicians can use Make the Connection as a tool to engage with Veterans or their family members who may be reluctant to seek support.