[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., today’s piece from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.]
Preventing Suicide in Military Families
Be Smart about Mental Health.
Depression, PTSD, Bipolar, substance abuse disorder; these and other mental health conditions are serious illnesses, and left untreated they can kill even the toughest soldiers. No combat necessary: more than half of military suicides involve soldiers who have never been deployed.
If you think you may be depressed, talk to a mental health professional ASAP—the sooner you treat the illness, the faster you’ll recover. If you are worried about someone, assume you are the only one who will reach out, and encourage them to get treatment.
Warning Signs Specific to Military
- Cleaning a souvenir weapon
- Visiting graveyards
- Obsession with news coverage of the war, or the military channel
- Wearing uniform off duty
- Being overprotective of children
- Standing guard of the house, obsessively locking doors and windows
- Stopping or hoarding medication
- Hoarding alcohol defensive speech: “You wouldn’t understand”
- Avoiding eye contact
- Avoiding people
If a friend tells you they are thinking about killing themselves, take it seriously.
Talk. If a person talks about:
- Killing themselves
- Feeling hopeless
- Having no reason to live
- Being a burden to others
- Feeling trapped
- Unbearable pain
Mood. People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:
- Loss of interest
Behavior. Behaviors that may signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss, or change:
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
- Withdrawing from activities
- Isolating from family and friends
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
- Giving away prized possessions
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The illustration at the blog’s top is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. The blogger is a Vietnam Veteran, 1966-67. He is an author and past state chaplain for a major veterans organization. He welcomes comments on posts and encourages readers to subscribe to PTSDOutreach.com; two points: 1) it is free, 2) posts appear directly in your e-mail in-box.