Help Prevent Warrior Suicide
This is Everyone’s Responsibility
How prevalent is Warrior Suicide? When a warrior comes home from battle he often has a different battle to fight. It’s a psychological battle. Suicide events have occurred across all service branches.
In battle, warriors know that their buddy has their back. When a warrior returns to civilian life you have the opportunity to be his buddy. Suicide is preventable if you look for the signs. You can save a service member’s life by identifying psychological concerns that may be affecting a fellow warrior.
In every war some service members have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) now referred to as Post-Traumatic Stress (PSS). PTSD is a result of stress on brain cells that can cause nerve endings- or dendrites –to break off. Soldiers returning from battle experience flashbacks. They relive the trauma in their minds. Many service members who experience PTSD can benefit from treatment and support. PTS and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) are the signature wounds of this long period of war.
Everyone reacts to traumatic experiences differently. Some service members may face emotional or psychological challenges such as feelings of anger, isolation, anxiety or guilt. Depression is a more serious condition. Being in the military can be very stressful, and thus all military personnel are at a high risk for depression. Know the symptoms of depression so you can spot them.
For warriors returning from battle transitioning into civilian life can be equally daunting. Suicide thoughts are usually associated with other psychological concerns such including finances, relationships, medical work related problems or a combination of all. Watch for the warning signs and take action if you notice substance abuse, setbacks in military career or personal life, feelings of hopelessness, behavior that isolates the service member. Encourage them to talk about their feelings. Let them know you are there for them and that you care. Let them know they are not alone.
If you are a service member or a Veteran and experiencing anxiety and thinking of suicide, please ask for help – this is the brave thing to do. If your buddy, friend or loved one is having a hard time, get this person help as soon as possible. Let’s all work together to save lives. There are many organizations that provide free and private mental health counseling including our friends at GiveAnHour.org and The SoldiersProject.org. Suicidal comments should always be taken seriously.
It takes courage to deal with psychological concerns in yourself or a fellow warrior. If the situation is urgent, use these resources to get immediate assistance:
• Call 1-800-273-TALK and press 1 for the Veterans Crisis Line, or chat live online.
• Talk to a medic, chaplain or commanding officer immediately — they can support you in locating confidential care or support
• Give An Hour – www.giveanhour.org
• The Soldiers Project – www.thesoldiersproject.org