Stopping Military Suicides

Veteran Voices to Help Prevent Deaths

by Kate Hendricks Thomas and Sarah Plummer Taylor


More U.S. military members involved in combat in Afghanistan have died as a result of suicide
than the number who died in combat.

Print Flyer
Cover image for Stopping Military Suicides

September 2020


Pages 155
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Health & Wellness/Public Health
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Blending illustrative narratives from veterans with cutting-edge research, this book provides a model for a needed shift from treatment post-trauma to psychological training pre-trauma to prevent deep depression and resulting suicides.

As suicides among members of the U.S. military and veterans continue at a rate higher than in the general population—at least 22 each day—and their calls for help become more tragically blatant, with three veterans waiting for treatment outside Veterans Administration hospitals in 2019 committing suicide there—author and ex-marine Kate Hendricks Thomas present a call for a new approach to help halt the needless deaths.

Thomas, now a researcher and assistant professor of public health, details a plan to establish preventative training for mental fitness that will help psychologically "vaccinate" service members against depression and PTSD, the most common precursors to suicidal thoughts. Thomas details her mental fitness training program to shift from post-trauma treatment to pre-trauma prevention. Each topic addressed is illustrated with stories from veterans. Part of the solution, Thomas explains, is to present prevention as something for all service members, and as a positive, strength-building, challenging activity for champions, as opposed to a post-trauma treatment only for "weak and broken" warriors.


  • Includes a plan for proactive military measures to establish knowledge and habits to help service men and women, before trauma, become depression- and suicide-resistant
  • Includes vignettes from veterans explaining the "warrior culture" that makes service members and veterans treatment-recalcitrant after trauma
  • Includes vignettes from veterans who suffered sexual assault in the military
  • Describes the alienation felt by veterans and reasons for it
  • Explains the key components of a mental fitness program to rewire the brain for resilience
Author Info

Kate Hendricks Thomas, PhD, is a Marine Corps veteran with a doctorate in health education and health promotion. An active duty Marine from 2002 through 2012, she served in Iraq and at home as the operations officer for the 4th Anti-Terrorism Battalion. Kate is a faculty member with George Mason University's department of Global and Community Health. Her previous books include Bulletproofing the Psyche: Preventing Mental Health Problems in Our Military and Veterans (2018) and Invisible Veterans: What Happens When Military Women Become Civilians Again (2019).

Sarah Plummer Taylor, MSW, is a Marine Corps veteran, counselor, consultant, and researcher with a focus on mental and behavioral health, and community engagement. An active duty Marine from 2003 through 2011, she deployed twice to Iraq and served in the United States as the deputy director of geospatial intelligence at the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity. Sarah also played for and captained the U.S. Military Olympic Women's Soccer Team. Sarah's writing has been featured in Best Practices for Yoga with Veterans, and two Praeger edited collections, Bulletproofing the Psyche: Preventing Mental Health Problems in Our Military and Invisible Veterans: What Happens When Military Women Become Civilians Again.

Other Titles of Interest

Invisible Veterans cover imageOperational Psychology cover imageBulletproofing the Psyche cover image
The Civilian Lives of U.S. Veterans cover imageWeapons of Mass Psychological Destruction and the People Who Use Them cover image

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