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AF medical leader discusses suicide prevention program improvements

AF medical leader discusses improvements to suicide prevention programs (AF graphic)

AF medical leader discusses improvements to suicide prevention programs (AF graphic)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. --

Maj. Gen. Dorothy Hogg, the Air Force Deputy Surgeon General, met with the House Armed Services Committee’s Military Personnel Subcommittee June 15 to provide an update on the Air Force’s  suicide prevention program.

“Air Force suicide prevention starts with leadership at every level,” Hogg said during her opening statement. “We know healthy social support systems save lives and leadership engagements set the tone for our Airmen to be successful and resilient.”

The Air Force’s methods for suicide prevention include everything from a community effort to reduce the stigma surrounding people who seek help to embedding medics with Airmen in high-stress career fields. Hogg said, “This relationship increases access and help-seeking behaviors and improves provider-patient rapport, which has led to an overall decrease in distress levels.”

Hogg went on to describe the Zero Suicide pilot program based on a civilian model. The program is collaboration with the Suicide Prevention Resource Council and Penn State University as well as five Air Force installations to collect and implement data. Other programs include the Air Force Family Members’ Guide to Suicide Prevention, which has trained more than 100 family members as Resilience Training Assistants, and a Wingman Toolkit mobile app.

In her closing remarks, Hogg said, “We are committed to developing and supporting resilient, total force Airmen who have the tools to successfully navigate mission and life challenges where suicide is not an option.”