Preventing Suicide Starts with YOU!

Preventing Suicide Starts with YOU!

Suicide prevention is everybody’s business!  Many of us have been touched by suicide, and with suicide rates rising in the military and veteran communities, we all need to pay attention to those around us.

Did you know that the person who is most likely to prevent someone from taking their own life is someone that they already know?  It’s not the psychologist, the psychiatrist, or the EMT.  It’s you! It’s me!  We must always be listening because listening can be lifesaving.

Every 36 hours someone in the military takes their own life.

Every 80 minutes a veteran chooses suicide as a solution to their problems.

Even though only one percent of Americans serve in the Armed Forces, suicide accounts for more than 25 percent of deaths among veterans under the age of 25.  6,500 veterans commit suicide each year.

Only 25 percent of suicide victims leave a note so many deaths categorized as accidental are more than likely suicides.

Most people who take their own lives will communicate their intentions to do so in the week prior to their action.

Cries for help may be coded in expressions like “I’m so tired of it all.”

Behavioral clues such as a gun purchase, stockpiling pills, changing a will, or giving away money should tip you off that something isn’t right.

Situational clues should not be ignored. A sudden breakup, the death of a loved one, losing a battle-buddy, or a financial crisis can trigger someone to consider suicide.

A long term battle with an illness, depression, or post traumatic stress can wear a person down until they just don’t want to keep up the fight.

If someone you know seems out of sorts, don’t be afraid to ask them that scary question. Take a direct approach, or an indirect approach, but ask them if they are thinking about suicide. Don’t fall for the myth that confronting someone about suicide will increase the risk.  After all, it’s better to have an angry friend than a dead friend.

If you find that suicidal ideations are confirmed, persuade them to get help and then go with them to get that help.

Suicide prevention is everybody’s business.  It’s not who you lose.  It’s who you save.

Need help now? Call the Veteran’s Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Press 1.

This article was first published by the author at


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