Suicide is serious and its impact can be felt by many at any given time. Here, at Walter Reed- Bethesda we do not take it lightly. We continue to foster an environment where psychological health is valued.
In our commitment to building and maintaining a resilient joint force, our goal is to ensure all Service members have access to a support network, health care and the skills to get through trying times.
We are also deeply committed to every civilian and contractor because we know that we are a family and everyone matters.
We offer services such as the Employee Assistance Program to ensure no one’s needs are overlooked.
Leadership, Service members and family form the front lines in suicide prevention. Suicide prevention is most effective when it starts at the local level, with active leadership knowing and understanding their people well enough to recognize when it is time to intervene. I urge you to encourage those who are a part of your team to seek out assistance early . . . everyone benefits.
Peer to peer intervention is also possible as you work together on a day-to-day basis, which allows you to recognize when something is wrong and it’s time take action.
Families also play a very important role in the prevention, as they know their loved ones better than anyone and are with them when they may feel less defensive.
Please don’t underestimate the positive effect of taking time to care for someone in need. When folks feel like they are in a caring environment and what they do truly matters, a sense of community results where we can be open and supportive. There are many instances when an act of appreciation or understanding has helped someone who was considering suicide find the confidence to ask for help or discover hope .
As we continue through the spring, the season of renewal, I ask you to be mindful of those around you and who are in your care to ensure that you are not left asking “is there something more I could have done.”
For more information on suicide prevention please contact our Behavioral Health Clinic at 301-295-0500 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. Additional resources can be found at www.militaryonesource.mil.
Rear Adm. Alton L. Stocks
Walter Reed National
Military Medical Center