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Department of the Air Force family suicide prevention training now available

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) --

Department of the Air Force family suicide prevention training is now available as a way to educate spouses, partners, adult family members, and loved ones on the signs and symptoms of suicide.

The new online training video, Equipping Family Members to Help Airmen in Distress, aims to build and strengthen relationships and connectedness among family members and loved ones.

“The Department of the Air Force knows the importance of resilience and taking care of families, who are often the first to sense distress in their Airmen. They are also the key to finding potential solutions to prevent suicide and other issues associated with interpersonal and self-directed violence,” said Brig. Gen. Claude Tudor, Air Force Integrated Resilience director. “By developing this inaugural family-based suicide prevention training, we are also enhancing the overall human performance of the family unit. This ultimately keeps our Airmen and Space Professionals mission-ready for whatever our nation requires us to do.”

Viewers will learn about options for intervening and how to access available resources. The training stresses the importance of being proactive and developing protective factors like good physical health and nutrition, nurturing spirituality, and creating strong bonds among family members and peers.

“Suicide is the leading cause of death among Airmen and Space Professionals, and one loss to suicide is one too many,” said Dr. (Maj.) Jordan Simonson, Air Force Suicide Prevention program manager. “Equipping family members to recognize the signs of distress in their service member, and educating them on the resources available is integral to prevention efforts.”

Frequent moves, family separations, and deployments are part of the unique challenges of military life, in addition to the typical stressors most Americans face such as job satisfaction, relationship issues, and financial stressors.

“For our warriors, it’s all that and more. So, coming up with a way to engage family members while strengthening their relationships in times of distress is critical to preventing suicide ideation,” Simonson said.

The video can be shown in either small group discussions, or to a single viewer using a resource guide and questions for thought. The video also satisfies the requirement for annual suicide prevention training for Key Spouses.

“The training will not only help family members identify signs of distress, they will learn about the tools and resources available to help them take care of their Airman and Space Professional,” Simonson said. “While service members have annual training for suicide prevention, it’s just as important that those closest to us are also able to recognize the symptoms of suicide ideation and know where to turn for support.”

This new training video complements the Department of the Air Force’s Resilience Tactical Pause, an ongoing exercise to promote connection and engagement among all Airmen and Space Professionals, and break down barriers to seeking mental health.

The training can be found on www.resilience.af.mil by following these steps:

- Under the tab “Programs,” click on the picture under Equipping Families to Help Airmen in Distress to go to the training link.

- You may also go directly to the URL: https://www.resilience.af.mil/Programs/Equipping-Families/.