For each and every one, life has provided us various things that matter to us: family, friends, relationships, job or interests; and even though these important things may differ for each of us, they also help us in our connection with one another and provide us with purpose and inspiration each day.
We are also aware how life can provide us with everyday demands that can cause stress and trauma on our mind, body and souls. None of us are immune from stress. There is a fine line between stress and suicide, and it is hope. Different people can walk into a similar situation but how each handles it can be very different, and affect us in completely different ways.
That is why Suicide Prevention Month is observed across the United States every September, and the goal is to make everyone aware that suicide is a serious subject, can happen to anyone, and that it can be preventable. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) have chosen this year’s theme as Be There Your Actions Could Save a Life to encourage Service Members and their loved ones to focus on being present for those in crisis and to remind others that they matter. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and its partners are spreading the word that each and every one can take action to prevent suicide; and that healing, hope and help can happen. Their theme this year is You can do something to prevent suicide #BeThe1To save a life.
More people die by suicide than car accidents. A federal surveys showed that over 11.5 million people have seriously considered suicide, 4.8 million planned to kill themselves, and over 2.5 million people attempted to kill themselves. The data also conveys that in many of cases, people who had intense suicidal ideations/thoughts/plans do not die by suicide. They are able to find help to work through these feelings. These individuals are able to experience life in ways that their feelings of hopelessness could never have imagined. These aren’t miracles in anyway, but show stories of hope and recovery; they are the stories of suicide prevention, and are the ones we rarely hear about.
This past July, the VA released updated data that indicates 20 veterans die by suicide a day, a figure that alters the 22-per-day statistic but still places the rate 21 percent higher than that for American civilians. Unfortunately, there is still a dark cloud in the military about asking for help or showing weakness, most have been taught from day one to “suck it up and drive on,” a stigma that asking for help is considered a weakness. We have to change this stigma and make getting help a part of overall health!
Then what can we all do to help in preventing deaths by suicide or getting help? First, we all have a responsibility to remember suicide awareness and prevention lasts much longer than a one-month campaign. This responsibility extends beyond ourselves and includes our work environment, our families, friends, and our communities. Be sure to know the signs and symptoms of crisis and suicidal ideations.
- Hopelessness, feeling like there’s no way out
- Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings
- Feeling like there’s no reason to live
- Rage or anger
- Engaging in risky activities without thinking
- Increasing alcohol or drug abuse
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- The presence of the following signs requires immediate attention:
- Thinking about hurting or killing yourself
- Looking for ways to kill yourself
- Talking about death, dying or suicide
- Self-destructive behavior such as drug abuse, weapons, etc.
Next it is important that we make it easier to get immediate assistance in crisis situations, be familiar with how to engage someone in crisis, having crisis hotlines information posted and provided to each and every soldier can help in this approach.
Of course supporting one another, before, during and after a crisis is another must do in crisis and suicide prevention. It is good to support people who report or suggest they are in crisis; whether it is in the form of crisis team outreach, telephone calls, or even emails in texts, can make a big difference in encouraging hope and caring. (the above sites can assist in how to deal with distress individuals if you find that you are intervening).
#BeThere #SuicidePrevention #BeThe1To
Even with this month-long acknowledgement of Suicide Awareness, this is also a reminder of everyone’s 24/7, 365-day responsibility to help those in crisis.
During this Suicide Prevention Month, I encourage each of you to reach out to others, to BE THERE, and let them know and show them that they matter and YOU COULD SAVE A LIFE.
Even with this month-long Hope this information is helpful and know that we can all make a difference!!
Until next time beautiful people,
If you feel that life is not worth living, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The call is free and confidential, and crisis workers are there 24/7 to assist you. To learn more about the Lifeline, visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org