ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Rock Island, Ill. -- National Suicide Prevention Week is the week of Sept. 4, a time when organizations including the Rock Island Arsenal work to increase awareness about suicide and reduce the stigma surrounding suicide. The Army is committed to the health, safety, and well-being of its Soldiers, DA Civilians, and their Family members. To emphasize this commitment, the Army is joining the nation in observing September as National Suicide Prevention Month.

Suicide is a major public health concern. According to recent research, more than 32,000 persons die by suicide each year in the United States, or about 80 suicides per day. In the 18- to 65-year age group, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. In addition to completed suicides, another 1,500 unsuccessful suicide attempts occur each day.

It has been estimated that up to 75 percent of suicide victims display some warning signs or symptoms. Recognizing warning signs or symptoms may enable you or your loved ones to access treatment before a suicide attempt. Warning signs of suicide vary and may include:

• Talk or preoccupation with suicide or death; threatening suicide; writing about death or suicide
• Signs of serious depression, including hopelessness, no sense of purpose, loss of pleasure, sleep problems
• Withdrawal from family and friends
• Increased risk-taking, irritability
• Making statements about "life not worth living"
• Increased alcohol or drug use
• Feelings of uncontrolled anger
• Seeking access to firearms, pills, or other methods to commit suicide
• Changing wills, giving personal items away
• Dramatic changes in personality

Experts believe that most suicidal individuals do not want to die. When suicidal behaviors are detected early, lives can be saved. If you or someone you know is in need of immediate assistance, please call 911, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), Military One Source at 1-800-342-9647, or the Rock Island Arsenal Employee Assistance Program at 782-HELP (4357).

Join the Rock Island Arsenal EAP in supporting suicide prevention. Tables with resources and information will be available Sept. 13-15 at cafeterias in buildings 210, 60, and 350. Free, confidential and anonymous mental health screenings are available at Enter keyword ASAP to complete a simple online questionnaire. Additional information regarding the Army's Suicide Prevention Campaign can be found at If you haven't already done so, please sign up for Annual Suicide Prevention Training facilitated by ASC and JMC Chaplains. The last two trainings for fiscal year 2011 are scheduled to be held in the Baylor Conference Room, Sept. 6 at 2 p.m., and Sept. 7 at 10 a.m.

Don't deal with a problem alone. Reach out to a helping hand. It takes courage to ask for help when needed.