Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and accounts for nearly 40,000 deaths each year, according to the most recent statistics from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the military and veteran populations individuals may seek care from chaplains and mental health professionals.

This presentation will begin with a description of the epidemiology of suicide in the United States, with a specific focus on suicide among service members and veterans. An epidemiologic foundation of suicide provides context to understanding how current research relates to a variety of prevention strategies.

The discussion will include the role and approach of chaplains to suicide prevention in the military. Using data from a survey of chaplains in the Army, this overview will review suicide prevention efforts and factors that may enhance or constrain effective support. The presentation will conclude with recommendations from policy and research perspectives on how the military and civilian communities can bolster suicide prevention efforts.