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TRICARE shines a light on suicide prevention awareness

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death for Americans, and military veterans make up 20 percent of suicide deaths each year. TRICARE works with the Defense Suicide Prevention Office, the Department of Defense’s oversight authority to reduce the impact of suicide on Service members and their families, to provide mental health resources to all TRICARE beneficiaries.

If you know someone who needs help or just needs someone to talk to, please encourage them to reach out to people who may have been exactly where they are right now — fellow veterans and family members. Vets4Warriors is a free, confidential peer-to-peer support service. The Vets4Warriors call center is staffed by veterans and family members representing all branches of the services. You can connect with them anytime by phone (1-855-838-8255), online chat (visit Vets4Warriors.com), or e-mail (Info@Vets4Warriors.com).

In more urgent situations, if someone you know is in distress or may be contemplating suicide, they can contact the Military Crisis Line immediately via phone, online chat, or text message. Just call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1; visit www.militarycrisisline.net; or text 838255. Trained professionals are always there — 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

TRICARE’s Nurse Advice Line is also a valuable resource for beneficiaries currently dealing with the unique stressors of life in the Service. Sometimes stress becomes mental health issues. If you are feeling depressed, anxious or are thinking of harming yourself the Nurse Advice Line is here to help. NAL nurses can talk to you and help you get the care you need. To access the Nurse Advice Line call 1-800-TRICARE, option 1. To learn more about TRICARE’s Nurse Advice Line visit www.tricare.mil/nal.

Asking for help can be hard, but is a necessary first step in receiving help and treatment. If you or someone you know needs help, it is available. Visit www.tricare.mil/mhcare or contact your TRICARE regional contractor for more information about getting behavioral health care.