America's men and women in uniform bravely defend our nation and our values. Their skill, dedication and valor are the envy of the world. When their time in uniform is over, they are entitled to world-class health care, a benefit they've earned and that their country is grateful to provide for them.
As a clinical psychiatrist and researcher, my goal is to uncover new treatments for people like John, who have tried standard treatments, but who continue to have severe symptoms. John has tried all of the research studies offered in our research clinic, and those offered in other academic settings in New York City. Now he is my office and at the end of his rope. Could he be a candidate for a surgical procedure called deep brain stimulation, also called DBS?
Established therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy can address distorted, negative thinking and can be extremely effective for disorders like depression and anxiety. But the demand for these treatments exceeds the resources available. New innovations are sorely needed to fill the gaps, not to replace existing models of treatment, but to extend basic practices of mental well-being to the general public.
Suicide prevention is all of our responsibility. As we work together with the Trevor Project and others to spread the message that it's okay to ask for help, let's not forget about the equally important message that it's okay to reach out with a helping hand even before someone works up the courage to ask for help.
Suicide does not happen in a vacuum -- it happens in families. Family members must play a role in suicide prevention. To do this, they need to know how suicidality arises and how they can help. They need to know the danger and warning signs of suicide, the risk factors, and how suicidality and mental health are linked.