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The purpose of this doctoral project is to create a new suicide prevention strategy for the United States Air Force Chaplain Corps that focuses on developing airmen’s character and spiritual resilience life skills within the pluralistic environment of the military.

In an effort to address the high number of suicides in the Air Force, military leadership created suicide prevention programs and recruited medical staff who specialize in suicidology. Regrettably, numbers have not lowered. From the perspective of an Air Force chaplain, a key way to reduce suicide numbers is by helping airmen strengthen their character so they can make better choices and develop coping strategies to deal with challenging life circumstances.

This project presents a renewed emphasis on character that Air Force leaders can utilize worldwide. This new approach is inclusive of all faith traditions and even those with no religious faith. This fresh approach to suicide prevention takes the form of spiritual resilience and character building workshops called “C3: Character Counts Classes.”

This project contains three major sections. Part One describes relevant demographic and contextual information about the Air Force. Part Two covers the literature reviewed in the research for this project and also establishes a solid theological basis for suicide prevention. Primarily, the theological approach for this paper comes from a Wesleyan view, but it also takes into account other faith traditions.

Part Three presents the new suicide prevention plan and describes a pilot project that will be conducted. This section identifies goals, content, leadership, and an initial target audience. In the pilot project, chaplains and a variety of trained leaders facilitate the training with thirty to fifty airmen. Once the training and impact are assessed, it is hoped that this initiative will be refined and utilized at other Air Force bases worldwide.

Content Reader: Alan T. Baker, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Baker, Alan T.

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Air Force; Suicide; Soldiers; Suicidal behavior; Methodist Church


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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