Sometimes suicide prevention is as simple as being there for the person who needs you most. The veterans in your life need you to be there for them, to have a cup of coffee with them, to listen to them, to talk to them in an encouraging, positive way, and to guide them to the resources designed specifically to help them.
During Suicide Prevention Week and every day of the year, we urge you to be aware of the veterans in your circle of family and friends that may be contemplating suicide. It is important to be able to recognize the signs and to know where to turn for help.
According to the Veterans Crisis Line, there may not be obvious signs that someone is thinking about suicide but there are actions (some very subtle) that may signal the person in your life needs help. Veterans in crisis may show behaviors that are warning signs, including:
- Appearing sad or depressed most of the time
- Hopelessness; feeling like there’s no way out
- Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings
- Feeling as if there is no reason to live
- Feeling excessive guilt, shame, or sense of failure
- Rage or anger
- Engaging in risky activities without thinking
- Losing interest in hobbies, work, or school
- Increasing alcohol or drug misuse
- Neglecting personal welfare; a deteriorating physical appearance
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Showing violent behavior, like punching a hole in the wall or getting into fights
- Giving away prized possessions
- Getting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, or writing a will
The following signs require immediate attention:
- Thinking about hurting or killing yourself
- Looking for ways to kill yourself
- Talking about death, dying, or suicide
- Self-destructive behavior such as drug abuse, weapons, etc.
Organizations such as the Veterans Crisis Line and Veteran’s Passport to Hope are here to help. VP2H offers an online Resource Portal for veterans and their families, including a listing of resources for those who need immediate assistance.
Be there for the veteran in your life. Be aware of the signs. Be prepared to stop suicide.
Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
VP2H Resource Portal: http://www.veteransresourceportal.com/