Suicide Prevention: How 1 Person Can Make a Difference

By Katie Lange
DoD News, Defense Media Activity Power of 1

Thoughts of suicide are not necessarily something people explicitly announce to the world, which means loved ones often have no idea that their friend or family member is contemplating it. But there are signs and risk factors, and while you might be thinking you can’t make a difference by yourself, you’re wrong. Experts say that’s sometimes all it takes.

That’s the point of the Power of 1 Campaign, launched by the Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs in observance of National Suicide Prevention Month.

“One smile, one conversation, one comment, one caring gesture toward somebody at risk can make a difference in their experience and perhaps instill hope and get them to help,” said Dr. Keita Franklin, the director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office.

The No. 1 thing to know: Suicide is preventable. Warning signs are just missed sometimes.

“Inevitably, we always know that somebody has told somebody that they were struggling,” Franklin said of her office’s research. “Unfortunately, that person may not have known the extent of the risk.”

To be better prepared, here are some of the signs you can look for:

  • Expressing sadness often
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Deteriorating physical appearances and neglect of personal welfare
  • Sleeping all the time, or having trouble sleeping
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Losing interest in hobbies; loss of appetite
  • Performing poorly at work or school
  • Dramatic and frequent mood changes
  • Acting recklessly; showing violent, self-destructive behavior
  • Expressing feelings of guilt, shame or failure
  • Desperation – feeling like there’s no way out or no solution to the problem
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Making out a will or otherwise getting his or her affairs in order
  • Trying to secure weapons, pills or other things that can be used for harm

Common risk factors for suicide include relationship, financial or legal struggles.

It’s OK to Not Be OK

Franklin said a big part of suicide prevention in the military is making sure those at risk feel like they belong and are valued in their roles. That means making sure the at-risk person knows his or her chain of command cares and is willing to help – that it’s OK to not be OK.

“Leaders need to be able to convey to their units that people can bounce back from their stress issues and that they’re not always terminally broken,” Franklin said.

She said it’s important for at-risk people to know that getting help with mental health issues is a sign of strength, not weakness.

“It’s a big first step, and it can save a life, whether you’re the person at risk or the person helping the person at risk,” Franklin said.

She said service members are also provided peer-to-peer training that focuses on them looking for signs and risk factors and, more importantly, asking the question, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”

“We won’t know if people are at risk until then,” Franklin said.

For more resources on how to support military members and veterans in crisis, visit Veteranscrisisline.net or the Defense Suicide Prevention Office website. Service members and veterans who need help can call the Military Crisis Line and speak to a counselor by dialing 800-273-TALK and pressing 1.  If you’re overseas, you can still get help by calling:

In Europe: 00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118*
In Korea: 0808 55 118 or DSN 118
In Afghanistan: 00 1 800 273 8255 or DSN 111

If you’re a veteran and concerned about your own welfare, there’s also a quiz you can take.

DoD statistics show that in 2014, there were 268 confirmed suicides among active-duty military members, 79 confirmed in the reserves and 87 in the National Guard.

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3 Responses to Suicide Prevention: How 1 Person Can Make a Difference

  1. GRUPO PARA ACOMPANHAR MEU EVIDENTE SUICÍDIO DE MARCELE CASTRO DA VEIGA FOI CRIADO:
    - https://www.facebook.com/groups/735458883266630/735500766595775/

  2. infidel says:

    22 Veterans a day is too many. The 140/150 Billion dollars that might be going to Iran, needs to go toward taking care of our Veterans. Period!

  3. JB Smith says:

    The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and the brain initiative are the worst scams ever perpetrated on the American people. Former U. S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin Warns: Biochips Hazardous to Your Health: Warning, biochips may cause behavioral changes and high suicide rates. State Attorney Generals are to revoke the licenses of doctors and dentists that implant chips in patients. Chip used illegally for GPS, tracking, organized crime, communication and torture. Virginia state police have been implanting citizens without their knowledge and consent for years and they are dying! Check out William and Mary’s site to see the torture enabled by the biochip and the Active Denial System. See Terrorism and Mental Health by Amin Gadit or A Note on Uberveillance by MG & Katina Michael or
    Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence by Springer or Mind Control,
    Microchip Implants and Cybernetics. Check out the audio spotlight by Holosonics.
    The truth is the biochip works like a sim card. It received pulsed modulated laser beams and millimeter wave which it converts into electromagnetic waves that your brain interprets into digital images and sound. It then takes what your brain sees and hears and converts electromagnetic waves into digital and acoustic waves that a computer translates into audio and video. In other words, it allows law enforcement to see what you see, hear what you hear and communicate directly with your brain.
    “Former Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) director and now Google Executive, Regina E. Dugan, has unveiled a super small, ingestible microchip that we can all be expected to swallow by 2017. “A means of authentication,” she calls it, also called an electronic tattoo, which takes NSA spying to whole new levels. She talks of the ‘mechanical mismatch problem between machines and humans,’ and specifically targets 10 – 20 year olds in her rant about the wonderful qualities of this new technology that can stretch in the human body and still be functional. Hailed as a ‘critical shift for research and medicine,’ these biochips would not only allow full access to insurance companies and government agencies to our pharmaceutical med-taking compliancy (or lack thereof), but also a host of other aspects of our lives which are truly none of their business, and ertainly an extension of the removal of our freedoms and rights.” Google News
    The ARRA authorizes payments to the states in an effort to encourage Medicaid
    Providers to adopt and use “certified EHR technology” aka biochips. ARRA will match Medicaid $5 for every $1 a state provides. Hospitals are paid $2 million to create “crisis stabilization wards” (Gitmo’s) where state police torture people – even unto death. They stopped my heart 90 times in 6 hours. Virginia Beach EMT’s were called to the scene.
    Mary E. Schloendorff, v. The Society of New York Hospital 105 N. E. 92, 93 (N. Y. 1914) Justice Cardozo states, “every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body; and a surgeon who performs an operation without his patient’s consent, commits an assault, for which he is liable in damages. (Pratt v Davis, 224 Ill. 300; Mohr v Williams, 95 Minn. 261.)
    Dr. Lawrence Chang, Pariser dermatology and Denis Cruff, Hampton Sentara Surgery are implanting people without their knowledge and consent. They should lose their medical license per U. S. Surgeon General.This case precedent requires
    police to falsely arrest you or kidnap you and call you a mental health patient
    in order to force the implant on you. You can also be forced to have a biochip if you have an infectious disease – like Eboli or Aids. Coalition of Justice vs the City of Hampton, VA settled a case out of court for $500,000 and removal of the biochip. Torture is punishable by $1,000 per day up to $2 million; Medical battery is worth $2.05 million. They also use your identity to bill for grant money – identity theft and credit fraud. They told my family it was the brain initiative. I checked with the
    oversight board, and it is not! Mark Warner told me it was research with the Active Denial System by the College of William and Mary, the USAF, and state and local law enforcement. It is called IBEX and it is excruciating. State Attorney Mark Herring is using innocent citizens of Virginia for a fund raiser. The paper recently identified Medicaid fraud as the largest boost to Virginia’s economy. They commit fraud and brag about it. I hope the citizens whose Identity they used truly qualify, or they can be put in jail for Medicaid fraud. Even though their signatures were forged by CSB agents!

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