Suicide Prevention
for Veterans, their Families, & Friends


VA SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE - (800) 273-TALK (8255) - press 3 for veterans

VA MENTAL HEALTH HOME PAGE - www.mentalhealth.va.gov

CALL 9-1-1 OR TAKE THE VETERAN TO AN EMERGENCY ROOM IF:

  • you are speaking over the phone or computer with a Veteran who expresses intent to harm self or others;
  • a Veteran is displaying threatening behavior with a weapon or object that can be used as a weapon; or
  • a Veteran tells you that they have overdosed on pills or other drugs, or if there are signs of physical injury.

 Use the ACE Card

Ask the Veteran

  • To determine if a Veteran is suicidal it is helpful to:
    • Interact in a manner that communicates concern
    • know how to manage your own discomfort in order to directly address the issue
  • The most difficult ACE step is asking.
    • Ask, "You look upset; have you thought of hurting yourself?"
    • Ask, "Do you wish you were dead?"
  • When to ask the question:
    • Ask the question anytime you think the Veteran may be a danger to themself.

Care for the Veteran

  • Show the Veteran that you care about what they are saying and that you are not passing judgment on what they think or feel.
    • Actively listen to their story.
    • Nod your head and encourage them to tell you more.
  • Accept that their situation is serious and deserving of attention.

Escort the Veteran

  • Do everything you can to encourage and expedite the Veteran getting help.
  • Explain that there are trained professionals available to help.
  • Suggest that treatment might help.