What should I do if I fear someone is contemplating suicide as their only option??
- Call 911 if they are in immediate danger.
- You can ask them if they are thinking about suicide. Be caring and ask direct questions
- Remove all weapons, drugs or other dangerous items
- Stay with them until help arrives or bring them to a facility
Veterans have seen and experienced things which most people have been lucky enough to avoid. Their level of trauma is way more advanced and destructive than we will ever know. Many veterans in their 30’s will dissociate or even ‘come out of their body’ to deal with the trauma they have experienced. Out of the blue this trauma will be triggered by a sound or a smell.
Many come home to their families where they suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Some will hold it together for many years then once they feel their family is doing well they will start getting their affairs in order and take their life. Nearly 70% of suicides are committed using a gun. The first thing to do is to lock away any firearms, drugs or other dangerous items if you are concerned.
2016 data showed 20 veteran and service member deaths a day. About 16 were veterans and 4 were active members. 2018 showed that number increasing to 22 a day. PTSD is not the only cause of despair, immense stress, performance and the frequent moves adds to the hopelessness.
There are many Vererans Legion Halls around the country which provide much comfort as only military members can join them. Many of the members have been through similar experiences so it is a wonderful place to make a connection and know they are not alone in their feelings.
Most people contemplating suicide do not want to die, they just want their pain to stop.
- Nightmares or having problems sleeping or over sleeping
- Essive alcohol or drug abuse
- Essive grief
- Withdrawal from friends, family or society
- Risky or reckless behaviors
- Excessive rage or anger
- Anxious, agitated or hopelessness
- Dramatic mood changes
- Talking or writing about self-harm, suicide or death.
Some common causes of military suicide:
- Relationship problems
- Death of a loved one or friend
- Disciplinary or legal issues
- Work or performance issues
- Sleep issues
- Financial burdens
- Disrupted social network.
Each division of the military has their own suicide programs:
Army- ACE – Ask Care Escort http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/default.asp
Navy – ACT – Ask Care Treat https://www.public.navy.mil/BUPERS-NPC/support/21st_century_sailor/suicide_prevention/Pages/default.aspx/
Air Force – ACE – Ask Care Escort https://www.af.mil/Suicide-Prevention/