Observing September as Suicide Prevention Month

By CourtesySeptember 8, 2022

Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month Banner
A graphic promoting Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month. The U.S. Army creates promotional graphics for social media platforms. (U.S. Army graphic by Spc. Eric Pargeon) (Photo Credit: Spc. Eric Pargeon) VIEW ORIGINAL

September is Suicide Prevention Month and Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day.

It’s important for everyone to work to keep awareness strong about suicide and to always be there for each other all throughout the year.

Warning signs of

suicide, suicidal behavior

The Department of Veterans Affairs official site lists a variety of warning signs for military members, veterans, and their families to look out for in times of crisis, stress, and situations leading up to or following such periods.

These warning signs include:

— Feelings of hopelessness.

— Feeling like there’s no way out of a problem or circumstance.

— Anxiety and agitation.

— Sleeplessness.

— Mood swings.

— Feeling like there is no reason to live.

— Rage and anger.

— Risky behavior.

— Icreasing alcohol or drug use and abuse.

— Withdrawing from family and friends.

Other important information

The VA also advises immediate attention in cases where:

— There are thoughts about self-harm.

— A person is researching ways to die or commit suicide.

— A person is talking about death, dying, or suicide.

— Self-destructive behavior is taking place.

There are many situations where military members and their families are more vulnerable to problems with suicidal feelings, thoughts, or actions.

These can include time leading up to or coming back from a deployment, times of personal upheaval and uncertainty, and situations where major life changes are occurring.

Conversely, none of these things needs to be happening for people to struggle with suicidal thoughts or actions.

Other conditions can also contribute to suicidal feelings such as traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol abuse, and other medical or medically-related problems.

The approach to suicidal feelings in these cases may start with counseling or other talk-based therapies but a medical approach may also be required depending on the cause of the problems and the severity of the condition.

Always reach out for help if you or a friend or loved one struggles in any way with suicidal feelings.

The Military/Veterans Crisis Line can be reached at 988, then press 1. Call this number if you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal feelings. One can also text 988 for assistance.

People can also visit the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at https://988lifeline.org or by dialing 988. According to the website, “The 988 Lifeline: 988 is now active across the United States. This new, shorter phone number will make it easier for people to remember and access mental health crisis services. (Please note, the previous 1-800-273-TALK (8255) number will continue to function indefinitely.)”

The website also states: “The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States. We’re committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices and building awareness.”

(Article prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office and the Fort McCoy Suicide Prevention Program Manager Terry Rogalla.)