Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sadness, grief and loss...

"Hey friends! I want to let everyone know that suicide IS preventable. Here's my promise to you: I will always Listen/Talk it out/Be a trusted friend/Get you help. Talk to me if you're in crisis. The Lifeline is there for you and so am I."
#800273TALK #suicideispreventable #LETITOUT 

September 30th is the last day of the Suicide prevention month.  On this day, I found out my dear friend's (from our last military assignment) husband apparently shot himself at home.  She found him according to the news reports.

He was an amazing man.  High ranking Army officer.  But, a Teddy Bear in person.  Always had a wonderful, full, encompassing hug ready and available no matter where we'd run into each other.  A smile and a kind word... always.  Did he seem depressed?  Not a year ago when I last saw him.  Yes, he went for walks with the dog and was a quiet man, but didn't seem "depressed".  His family was amazing and supportive.  Very involved in the community and at church.  Why him??  I, personally, do not expect I'll ever know.  All I can do is to pray for his soul, pray for his family, and pray for my dear friend that her dreams are not nightmares of finding him... AND get the word out about suicide prevention.

Suicide was a growing trend in the military (it 'might' be lowering... slightly in the past 2-3 years).  Presumably from the time spent in deployed locations and the stresses that one is under just from being in the military.

We, in the Air Force, are subjected to yearly Suicide Prevention briefings.  We're taught how to be a "good wingman" and recognize the "warning signs".

But, somehow... my friend's husband slipped through that.

No, he wasn't AF, he was Army.  Yep, they lead the way statistically speaking.  In 2012, the Army had 283 confirmed completed suicides and the Air Force 83.    However, the non-military world still has HUGE numbers, too.  Teens, older Americans (above 65), and middle aged people are all trending upwards.  As a matter of fact, it's the 10th leading cause of death for Americans right now.  Sad.

What can we do?

We can learn the warning signs...

I think one of the things that most people do not realize is that you MUST ask DIRECTLY if your friend or loved one is thinking about hurting or killing themself.

You MUSTN'T tell them they are stupid or weird or wrong... just listen.  THEN, STAY with them!!

Check in with them if they're not in immediate danger or take them to an emergency room or doctor.

Hide items that they might use to hurt themself...

don't just say "Life is too wonderful... why would you WANT to end it??"   Typically, they are in such pain that ALL they can think about is ending their pain... their life is NOT wonderful to them - No matter if yours is to you or if theirs appears to be wonderful from your perspective.

Do NOT place guilt on them... don't tell them how many lives will be "ruined" if they die... just listen to what is hurting them and BE there for them.  Even if you feel like you just NEED to say something... say, "I am here for you" and mean it.

PLEASE help end suicide.  Especially for our military and veterans.

Click here for the National Suicide Prevention Toolkit

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