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.
- Loneliness: A Risk Factor for Suicide
- Premilitary Risk Factors Associated With Suicide Among Veterans
- Military Sexual Trauma – A Risk Factor for Suicide
- Opioid Use and Suicide Risk
- Improving the Safety of Lethal Means Prevents Suicide
- Help With Readjustment and Social Support Needed for Veterans Transitioning From Military Service
- Veterans Ages 18–34 May Require More Intensive Clinical Assessment To Prevent Suicide
- Suicide Among Women Veterans: Risk Factors Associated With Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being
- How Women's Reproductive Cycles and Sexual Health Affect Their Suicide Risk
- Heightened Risk for Suicide Among Veterans Who Have Experienced Homelessness
- Social Support and Belongingness as Protective Factors
- Promoting The Whole Health for Life Model
- The Effect of Unemployment on Suicide Risk
- Understanding the Role of Geography in Suicide Risk
- Address Moral Injury to Reduce Veteran Suicide Risk
- Alleviating Financial Strain to Reduce Suicide Risk
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.