A Counsellor's Thoughts on Suicide Prevention Month

  • Published
  • By Jeanne Morrow, RN, LICSW Director Psychological Health
  • 446th Airlift Wing
The Air Force is not immune to the causes of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. People commit suicide for a number of reasons including feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or overwhelming stress or sadness. At times, a suicide attempt is an impulsive gesture following a stressful incident that is perceived as being insurmountable.

While there are risk factors for suicide, there are also protective factors such as strong relationships, good coping skills, and a willingness to seek help. Recognizing feelings of stress, depression or inadequate coping skills in ourselves or in others means it is time to act. Find your resources: A mental health professional, Chaplain or a trusted mentor. Talk to your brother, friend or Wingman.

If you see that your friend or colleague is struggling, get involved. Ask the question: “Do you need to talk?” Let them know you can listen. You do not need to offer sage advice or wisdom. Just be supportive and receptive.

Suicide prevention is a complex issue but it begins with action. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to offer support.

Your resources include:

PHAP 24 hour contact number: 1-866-417-0707
American Red Cross 24 hour contact number: 1-877-272-7337
Military Crisis Line 24 hour contact number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), press 1 http://www.airforcemedicine.af.mil/airmansguide/index.asp
Military One Source: 800-342-9647, www.militaryonesource.mil
DoD Safe Helpline: 877-995-5247, www.safehelpline.org
Wingman Toolkit: http://afrc.wingmantoolkit.org