December 20, 2016

EDC Leads Suicide Prevention for U.S. Air Force

Zero Suicide Academy trains health care providers to better care for those at risk

Zero Suicide Academy staff with trainees from the U.S. Air Force.

Teams from five U.S. Air Force installations were the most recent participants in the Zero Suicide Academy,™ EDC’s signature suicide prevention training, which was held in San Antonio, Texas, in November.

EDC regularly conducts these training for teams from health and behavioral health care systems that are seeking to reduce suicides among their patients. This academy was part of a contract to the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Pennsylvania State University from the Defense Suicide Prevention Office. The university is supporting a pilot test at five Air Force bases with the goal of creating a model for Zero Suicide throughout the Air Force.  

EDC has been the national leader of the Zero Suicide initiative since 2012. Facilities implementing the Zero Suicide approach use a seven-step process, which includes assessing all patients for suicide risk, ensuring patients at risk have a suicide management plan, and using data to improve systems and patient outcomes.

“We use a variety of teaching tools in the academy, from presentations and storytelling to interactive and small-group sessions,” said Julie Goldstein Grumet, who leads the Zero Suicide initiative at EDC. “We want health care systems to think differently about how they could provide suicide care by sharing not only what works, but also the stories of health care leaders who have used this approach with great success.”

Team members attending the latest academy represented five Air Force bases: Nellis, Langley, Davis-Monthan, Tyndall, and Holloman. The academy was overseen by the Air Force Medical Operations Agency, with representatives from the Defense Suicide Prevention Office, Air Force Medical Support Agency, and other branches of the Armed Forces in attendance.

The feedback from academy participants has been overwhelmingly positive. Said one: “In my 14–15-year career, I have never had this systems approach to suicide care.” Another commented, “You’re going to save people’s lives, what better mission!”

Learn more about EDC’s suicide prevention programs.