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By Jason Jowers, MS, MFT

Clinician sitting in circle with military service members

On September 20th, 2022, OneOp hosted a webinar called “Suicide Prevention and Working with Military Families.” This webinar was the first of two webinars featuring Dr. Elizabeth “Gizzy” Gray, the Associate Director of Policy and Legislation with the Defense Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO). September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and we felt this webinar was very timely and very informative to mental health practitioners in our OneOp audience.

The goals of this webinar focused primarily on sharing available resources for military families experiencing a mental health crisis. Also, we analyzed the research, comparing civilian and military trends in suicide data as well as defined appropriate terms and definitions used within the military to discuss suicide without stigma. The main highlight of this webinar was to discuss ways to apply research and use the information in practice.

Dr. Gray is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Addictions Counselor, and Credentialed Advocate. Dr. Gray’s experience includes mental health, trauma response, suicidality, addictions, child abuse, and intimate partner violence.

Webinar Highlights

  • This webinar began with a historical overview of suicide prevention services established throughout the years in the U.S. including SAMHSA establishing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in 2001.
  • Next, Dr. Gray discussed definitions and terms related to talking about suicide prevention as well as changes in stigmatizing language around the topic of suicide.
  • Dr. Gray also shared the most up-to-date military and civilian suicide data, as well as talked about the risks related to suicide including firearms, drugs/alcohol, relationship stressors, and financial stressors.
  • Finally, Dr. Gray shared ways to implement strategies in mental health practices when working with clients and suicide and she emphasized the importance of self-care for clinicians.

Archived Viewing and CE Info

If you missed the live event, you can watch the YouTube archived recording on the webinar event page. Free continuing education credits for this event are still available. Case Management CE credits are available through September 2023, and the UT Social Work CE credits are available through September 2024.

Also, be sure and get caught up with part two of this series with Dr. Gray called “Suicide Prevention and Intimate Partner Violence.” This webinar took place on October 27th, 2022, and focused on understanding how the risk factors for suicide and intimate partner violence can impact the military community from both a suicide response and IPV perspective as well as ways to support military families and couples. Archived viewing and CE opportunities are still available.

Cover Image: RODNAE Productions from Pexels