Sadly, for the past 10 years, suicide has been either the second or third leading cause of death among service members.
This trend can be reversed!
Do you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or someone else?
- Suicidal ideations including thoughts of suicide expressed, threatened, written or otherwise hinted at by efforts to find means to suicide, say goodbye or prepare for death
- Increased or excessive alcohol or drug use
- Feeling purposeless, anxiety or trapped
- Having frequent nightmares, or unable to sleep, or sleeping all the time
- Seemingly hopeless about self, others, the future
- Withdrawing from family, friends, usual activities, society.
- Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge for perceived wrongs
- Acting recklessly, without regard for consequences, or doing excessively risky behaviors
- Experiencing dramatic changes or unstable moods
Studies have indicated that as many as eight out of ten people give warning of their intention to commit suicide. While we think of symptoms as being hidden, more often, the warning signs are not recognized. If not responded to, the person's thoughts could progress to action – a suicide attempt.
Why? The majority of people who attempt suicide are confused about whether they want to live or die. Most people want to live better and happier lives but need relief from the intense emotional pain they are experiencing.
First, know yourself. What risk factors or warning signs are present in your life? What protective factors and personal assets help you cope in tough times? Seek assistance in skill building workshops or counseling to address deficits and to increase strengths.
Second, be willing & prepared to intervene on behalf of someone who is thinking of suicide.
Follow these steps:
- Know that you make a difference. In demonstrating care your impact may be immediate or long term. Doing nothing is not an option – someone’s life is at stake!
- Recognize risk factors and warning sign. Don’t make excuses or rationalize the symptoms. Move forward with addressing them.
- Ask the person directly, “Have you thought of suicide?”
- Care about their response by listening and demonstrating empathy. Rather than solving the problem, try to see it from their point of view – something that’s so overwhelming, that causes them to feel so desperate, that dying seems like the only solution.
- Connect them to treatment options.
- If the person has a means and a plan to commit suicide then call emergency responders.
- Other options for treatment include any medical treatment facility, Fleet & Family Support Center, Chaplain’s office, the Suicide Prevention Coordinator at your command. There are also community organizations including the Suicide Prevention Hotline, the Veteran’s Crisis Line, Military One Source and mental health offices in each of the local cities.
- Remember informal support systems too, including trusted friends or family members.
Duty Chaplain for Hampton Roads area
1-800-273-TALK (8255) press option 1
Or Text to 838255