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Alumni Stories: Advocating for Improved Suicide Prevention

By John Robert Morton, Student and Affairs Liaison, and Dominique Woodhouse, AMU Graduate

Dominique Woodhouse suicide prevention
Alumna Dominique Woodhouse with her associate degree in interdisciplinary studies.

Dominique Woodhouse is a military servicemember, a mom, a veterans service representative, an author, and a graduate of American Military University (AMU). She is also an advocate for suicide prevention and awareness, believing in each person’s ability to make a difference in the life of someone else.

As a child who moved around a lot, Dominique Woodhouse admits she didn’t have much. Her mother took care of the family, making sure they had what they needed but there wasn’t a lot of money left over for “extras.”

Dominique was an artist and always dreamed of being a fashion designer. She wanted to go to The Art Institute of New York, but the high cost of tuition and family responsibilities kept her closer to home.

Later, Dominique decided to enroll in a local community college in Virginia to study design and fashion. However, Dominique’s course load became overwhelming when she became a mother, so she stepped away from higher education to care for her family.

Not too long after, Dominique decided to join the Army. During her military service, she considered what she wanted to do in the future and realized that she wanted to continue her education.

Taking Courses for an Associate Degree

Dominique explored a few higher education institutions before finding American Military University (AMU). Through the tuition assistance benefit, Dominique could continue her education while on active duty and eventually started taking classes for her associate of interdisciplinary studies degree.

There were many things Dominique liked about AMU. She says, “The thing that grabbed my attention was the eight-week courses. They seemed so much more realistic to me and honestly, I felt it.”

Getting Involved in Suicide Prevention

While she was in the service, Dominique witnessed a suicide by a female servicemember, which was life-changing. The event hurt Dominique in several ways; she felt bad that she didn’t know the woman and thought she could have said or done something to prevent the suicide.

Dominique then became determined to prevent other people from attempting suicide. She wrote a book, ABC’s For You, for people who have attempted or thought about suicide.

Dominique says, “This book is not only for people struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts. My book is about promoting self-love and internal positivity. I hope that someone reads my book and chooses life and love. I truly believe if I can save one life, then that life can save another. I hope and pray it does because everyone’s life matters.”

Dominique notes that she was motivated to write the book by witnessing the suicide and by other events in her life. In her book, Dominique used her own experience with depression, which she had to deal with it by herself.

Dominique is open and honest about the challenges she occasionally faces with her mental health. She observes, “Yes, there are times I do lapse and go through depressive states, but my children and my care for those with suicidal ideations make me want to get involved and do more. I want to speak life, beauty and love to everyone. Even those people we see as strong and influential need motivation and encouragement.”

Related: TalkCampus Provides Free Mental Health Support Services

Helping Veterans with Life after the Military

Dominique is currently a veterans service representative with the Hampton Benefits Office in Newport News, Virginia, and helps veterans with several different aspects of post-military life. She advises, “Please be kind to everyone and especially to your veterans. They have seen and been through a lot.”

Dominique meets people in her office every day who make her want to get up and make them feel loved and cared for in this world. Dominique says, “I love my job, I love helping veterans and I love listening to them. They just want to be heard and to know someone cares.”

Dominique’s advice for future mental health professionals is, “It’s not about you anymore.” It’s a reminder that people seeking help for mental health challenges need to realize that there is a community of people who care about them.

Related: Active Minds: Making a Difference in Public Mental Health

Pursuing Future Goals

Dominique does everything now to make a better future for her family. She notes, “Seeing them happy makes me happy. It’s a win-win for me.”

In time, Dominique plans to obtain her master’s degree and thrive in her future business endeavors. She wants to make a difference in her community and other communities around the world.

Also, Dominique wants to have a major impact on others who were in her shoes years ago, especially in the area of suicide prevention. She said, “I want to help that young man who just needs a hand. I want to leave this earth knowing I’ve done something to improve another life.”

About the Author

John Robert Morton is a Student & Alumni Affairs Liaison and has been with the University for 13 years. His bachelor’s degree in European history is from Troy University in Troy, Alabama. He also completed master’s degrees in political science and sports management from American Military University. As a liaison, John Robert enjoys helping students and alumni to achieve their personal and professional goals.

About Our Department

The AMU and APU Alumni Affairs Office is dedicated to sustaining lifelong relationships with university alumni by providing engaging opportunities to stay involved and connected. We work closely with a variety of stakeholders to strengthen the alumni experience and to offer a variety of benefits, services, activities, and events throughout the year.

As a team, the Alumni Affairs team works to build and sustain relationships with alumni along their personal and professional journeys. We actively look for ways to recognize and showcase alumni, telling their stories to motivate and encourage students in the pursuit of their goals.

If you are a member of the alumni community and are looking for ways to remain actively involved, please contact and speak with a member of the team.

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