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VA S.A.V.E. Training

About VA S.A.V.E. Training

The acronym S.A.V.E. helps you remember the important steps involved in suicide prevention:
S Signs of suicidal thinking should be recognized
A Ask the most important question of all —“Are you thinking of killing yourself?”
V Validate the Veteran’s experience
E Encourage treatment and Expedite getting help

Supporting our Veterans

You can support a Veteran through a crisis. Keep these tips in mind when talking with a Veteran who may be at risk for suicide:
• Remain calm
• Listen more than you speak
• Maintain eye contact
• Act with confidence
• Do not argue
• Use open body language
• Limit questions — Let the Veteran do the talking
• Use supportive, encouraging comments
• Be honest — There are no quick solutions, but help is available

Safety is Important

Never negotiate with someone who has a gun. Get to safety and call 911. If the Veteran has taken pills, cut himself or herself, or has done harm to himself or herself in some way, call 911.

Additional Resources

VA Mental Health Services: Get information about inpatient and outpatient services available through VA at
Online Resource Locator: Find VA facilities, Vet Centers, suicide prevention coordinators, and other VA resources at
Make the Connection: Veterans and their loved ones can find out how to connect with VA resources at
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Program: Locate the VA PTSD program nearest you at

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