Stopping Military Suicides
Veteran Voices to Help Prevent Deaths
by Kate Hendricks Thomas and Sarah Plummer Taylor
November 2020, 167pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7507-6
$45, £35, 40€, A62
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7508-3
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More U.S. military members involved in combat in Afghanistan have died as a result of suicide
than the number who died in combat.

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—nearly 20 each day—and their calls for help become louder, with three veterans waiting for treatment outside Veterans Administration hospitals in 2019 committing suicide, authors and former U.S. Marines Kate Hendricks Thomas and Sarah Plummer Taylor present a call for a new approach to help halt the needless deaths.

Thomas, now a researcher and assistant professor of public health, and Plummer Taylor, now a social worker and adjunct professor, detail 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 and Plummer Taylor detail their 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 and Plummer Taylor explain, 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 members, 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
Kate Hendricks Thomas, PhD, a Marine Corps veteran with a doctorate in health education and health promotion. An active duty Marine from 2002 through 2008, she served in Iraq and at home as a Military Police Officer. A public health researcher with the University of Alabama's Office of Evaluation Research, Kate also teaches for 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.
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