As the Department of Defense ramps up suicide prevention efforts focused on firearm safety, the CEO of Stop Soldier Suicide shares data to put the issue in context, and a military widow shares her story and how she’s found healing and hope in the eight years since her husband’s death by suicide.

About the guests:

Chris Ford is the CEO of Stop Soldier Suicide, where he is responsible for the strategic direction and day-to-day management of the organization. He is the founder of the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations, or NAVSO, and a 20-year Air Force veteran. He retired in 2014 from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he served in the Chairman’s Office of Warrior and Family Support. In this role, he leveraged his perspectives on veteran reintegration to assist communities across the nation seeking to improve their support for military families. Ford previously served in nearly a dozen countries around the globe supporting Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, University of South Carolina, Naval Postgraduate School, the FBI National Academy, and Syracuse University’s Boots-to-Business Program.

Amber James is a Texan, single mother and surviving spouse of a Marine Corps veteran. She is a passionate advocate for mental health and suicide prevention. She is certified and trained as a laughter yoga leader, life and weight loss coach and erotic blueprint coach. She is also a widow suicide loss peer mentor for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and a survivor of suicide loss support group facilitator for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. James’ purpose is to give hope and show that healing is possible through awareness and conversations by sharing her story.

About the podcast:

The Spouse Angle is a podcast breaking down the news for military spouses and their families. Each episode features subject-matter experts and military guests who dive into current events from a military perspective — everything from new policy changes to research on family lifestyle challenges. The podcast is hosted by Natalie Gross, a freelance journalist and former Military Times reporter who grew up in a military family.

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Veterans experiencing a mental health emergency can contact the Veteran Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and select option 1 for a VA staffer. Veterans, troops or their family members can also text 838255 or visit for assistance.

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