Research shows that for every suicide, 135 people are personally affected – families, friends, co-workers, and community members – which means in one year, up to 6.3 million people are directly affected by suicide. Suicide prevention is a national public health challenge, and everyone has a role to play.
On January 13, 2021, the Deputy Under Secretary for Management signed the PREVENTS Pledge to Reach and support suicide prevention. All DHS employees are encouraged to take this pledge and make a commitment to increase awareness of mental health issues in general and prevent suicide for all Americans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs recently launched the How We REACH Coaching Tool – a groundbreaking new webpage that will revolutionize how we REACH (Reach out, Engage, Attend, Connect, Help) to people who need help and how we REACH to others when we need support. This webpage puts vital information and clear steps on how to REACH at people’s fingertips. You can add the tool to your phone’s home screen from REACH.gov.
Suicide is preventable – but only if we empower ourselves with the knowledge, tools and resources we need. Now, we can all empower ourselves with the How We REACH Coaching Tool, which teaches us how to reach to help someone in need and it teaches us how to reach for help ourselves. By learning how to REACH together, we will prevent suicide.
How We REACH Coaching Tool
The “How We REACH” Coaching Tool uses the acronym REACH to provide clear actions to take when we find ourselves in a position to help someone in need – or when we find ourselves in need of support. On the app, each letter links to detailed information to help users make the REACH they need. In addition, the webpage provides suggestions for language to use and tips to help you find resources – whether for yourself or someone you care about.
|When we REACH to those in need, we:||When we REACH because we are hurting, we:|
|R – Reach out and ask, “How are you…really?” Listen and offer hope.||R – Reach to a loved one or someone we trust. Don’t be afraid to reach out – now.|
|E – Engage them about possible risk factors and changes in their life to better understand their pain.||E – Engage those we trust and discuss life changes and risk factors that are contributing to our pain.|
|A – Attend to their safety. Unless you are concerned about your safety, stay with them.||A – Attend to our safety. Contact someone who can be with us and help us stay safe.|
|C – Connect them to resources such as supportive friends and family, professionals or a crisis line.||C – Connect with family, friends or appropriate professionals. Contact a crisis line. Be as honest as we can so we can help.|
|H – Help them make and maintain a plan to stay safe. Encourage them to share it with others.||H – Help others understand how they can help us stay safe. Share a safety plan if we have one.|
By working together, supporting one another, and recognizing when – and how – to REACH to those in need, we have the power to change how we address mental health and suicide in America. We can all learn how to REACH to care for our own emotional wellbeing and the wellbeing of those we love. Please join us. REACH now, learn how! Together we will prevent suicide.
For more on the How We REACH Coaching Tool, to add the tool to your phone’s home screen, and to learn more about the Year to REACH, please visit REACH.gov.