Commentary: September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Suicide; is not the answer

  • Published
  • By Lisa Grenon
  • DLA Battle Creek MWR

The word suicide caught your attention, didn’t it? The truth is suicide catches everyone’s attention. It’s the actions leading up to suicide that go unnoticed. Knowing the warning signs of suicide could save a life.

If someone is at risk for suicide, you can watch for warning signs such as:

  • Talking about being a burden
  • Being isolated
  • Increased anxiety
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Increased substance use
  • Looking for a way to access lethal means
  • Increased anger or rage
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Expressing hopelessness
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Talking or posting about wanting to die
  • Making plans for suicide

5 steps to help someone at risk:

  1. LISTEN and validate their struggle. Be there for them.
  2. ASK “Are you thinking about suicide?” or “Are you thinking about killing yourself.”
  3. KEEP THEM SAFE by staying with them until you have a warm hand-off to a professional.
  4. HELP THEM CONNECT with someone trained, call 988, or 911 if imminent danger, or take them to the closest emergency room.
  5. FOLLOW UP by keeping connected and checking on them. Tell them you care about them and glad they are here.

If you are thinking about suicide:

  • Call or text a crisis line or a trusted friend.
  • Make an appointment with a health care or mental health professional to talk about what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling.
  • Suicidal thoughts are a symptom, just like any other – they can be treated, and they can improve over time.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. In 2021, the Veterans Crisis Line received an average of 1807.52 calls per day, which equates to 75 calls for support per hour. You are not alone, make the call today.