Suicide Prevention Month and National Emergency Preparedness Month

By: Jason Jowers

Suicide Awareness
U.S. National Archives [Suicide Awareness by Senior Airman Heather Leveille, March 9th, 2020, CC0]
The month of September is a time where we are getting back into the swing of things. School has started back, and families are beginning and reestablishing routines as well as getting comfortable with new norms. All this activity is taking place as it has for countless families over the years, with the added caveat of everyone trying to return to normalcy amidst the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic.

With all that in mind, we wanted to share some resources for educators and mental health professionals from awareness campaigns during the month of September and on into the school year on the topics of suicide prevention and emergency preparedness.

Suicide Prevention Resources

September is Suicide Prevention Month and our MFLN Family Development team wanted to share resources to promote suicide prevention and wellness for military families.

  • Operation Reach Out App is an app created by Military Community Awareness Inc. (MCA) for smartphones. In addition to assisting those who are at risk for suicide directly, it is also designed to assist those who are concerned about others who may be at risk.
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline (https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org). The Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress. They also provide specific resources on their website for various populations including veterans, youth, disaster survivors, and LGBTQ+. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to contact the Lifeline and receive help now or to find ways that you can join the network and promote suicide prevention resources.
  • The Military Crisis Line (https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/military-crisis-line), much like the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, is a direct way to reach out for help. This service is primarily for military service members, veterans, and their families. To reach out and speak with a qualified responder from the VA, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text the number 838255.
  • The Defense Suicide Prevention Office (https://www.dspo.mil) provides a holistic approach to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention using a range of medical and non-medical resources. Grounded in a collaborative approach, DSPO works with Military Services and other Governmental Agencies, Non-Governmental Agencies, non-profit organizations, and the greater community to reduce the risk of suicide within military-connected populations.

We at MFLN Family Development urge everyone who needs help to seek assistance and we hope these resources will be beneficial in finding the support needed. And please make sure to pass on the resources shared above to anyone who may benefit from them.

Emergency Preparedness Resources

September is also National Emergency Preparedness Month and here are just a few of the resources we at MFLN Family Development recommend.

  • We hosted a webinar one year ago with the Sesame Street Workshop called “Sesame Street and You: Caring for Each Other During COVID-19 and Other Emergencies.” This webinar highlights many of the resources from Sesame Street in their Caring for Each Other Initiative, focused on the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Ready.gov is a one-stop-shop for tons of resources around disaster preparedness. Their Ready Kids section includes games and tips to help kids, teens, and families talk about prepping for disaster preparedness.
  • In addition, the American Red Cross shares their Hero Care Network, which provides a free app to connect military families with Red Cross services during times of crisis. The Hero Care Network offers confidential services to all veterans and their families by connecting them with local, state, and national resources worldwide.
  • Finally, our MFLN Military Family Readiness Academy 2020-21 focuses on the unique needs of military families in the context of disaster and hazard readiness. Eleven courses cover the basics of disaster preparedness, impact, and response, and also dive deeper into family caregiving, personal finance, the community recovery aspect, and more! Sign up to take these courses and get free Continuing Education Credits for your respective organization. 

This post was written by Jason M. Jowers, M.S. MFT, a member of the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Learn more about us at https://militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/family-development, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.  Subscribe to our Anchored. podcast series on iTunes and via our podcast page.