Online Courses Provide Aid to Those Affected by Suicide  > U.S. Department of Defense > Defense Department News


The Department of Defense is now offering two online courses to provide support and guidance for those affected by suicide.

“The first course is for everyone, but especially those who are directly impacted,” said Lisa Valentine, program manager for Military OneSource’s Victim Volunteering, Funeral Affairs and Military Burials. The After a Suicide course lasts approximately 45 minutes and can be accessed here.

The course covers communication techniques, ways to connect or stay connected to a support system, and reminders of how to maintain physical and mental health during this difficult time, she said, adding that “after a suicide, you may have a… experience a wide range of complex emotions and may need to learn new ways of caring for oneself and others.”

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“The weight of a death by suicide is felt far and wide,” Valentine said. “Those who face a suicidal death are not immune to the effects of death.”

Valentine found that each suicide death affects about 135 others, on average.

“If you are a soldier and have lost one of your comrades to suicide, we would highly recommend you take this course. He’s very, very helpful,” she said.

There is a second course for service providers, “After suicide – walking through support”, which lasts about two hours. It can be found here.

“In addition to chaplains and family members, military leaders and supervisors at all levels would greatly benefit from attending this course,” she said.

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“This course goes in-depth, explains the complicated feelings and emotions, including survivor guilt, that someone who has experienced suicidal loss can experience, and offers suggestions for self-care.”

“Service providers are not immune to the effects of a suicide death,” added Andrew Moon, the Defense Office’s acting director of research, assessment and data/monitoring for suicide prevention.

“This course will help you gain a greater awareness of the complicated nature of suicide and develop a relationship with survivors of suicidal loss. It also offers tools to protect against the severe effects of a suicidal death,” he said.

“Data tells us that suicide rates continue to rise across the country, and members of the military and military community are not immune to these trends,” he said.

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“Despite these trends and reminders that suicide is a growing public health problem, insufficient attention is still being paid to the impact these deaths have on survivors of suicide losses,” he said.

“Research has shown that suicide survivors are at higher risk for anxiety-related disorders, post-traumatic stress, complicated grief, depression and suicide,” he said.

Additional Resources:

Military OneSource: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/

Defense Suicide Prevention Bureau: http://www.dspo.mil/

Suicidal Grief in Veterans and Military Families: https://msrc.fsu.edu/funded-research/suicide-bereavement

Article about the Veterans Affairs Health and Suicide Toolkit: https://news.va.gov/58631/va-releases-mental-health-and-suicide-prevention-toolkit-for-former-guard-and-reserve-members/

Suicide Prevention – The Essentials: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/health-wellness/mental-health/suicide/suicide-prevention-the-essentials/

Tools for post-suicide parenting: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/family-relationships/gold-star-surviving-family/understanding-grief/tools-for-parenting-after-suicide/



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