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Suicide Prevention Month: Preventing Suicide is Everyone's Responsibility

  • Published
  • By Science and Technology Staff
  • 59th Medical Wing
The Air Force has designated September as Suicide Prevention Month. During this time, everyone is asked to remain vigilant and to reach out to those around them.

Life is full of highs and lows, it's a fact.  But there are times when the lows seem unbearable; the stressors are too much to handle. It's during these times that we must reach out to our fellow wingmen and let them know they are not alone.

Using a comprehensive policy focused on early identification and treatment, the Air Force established a Suicide Prevention Program, which emphasizes a community approach to reducing suicides and suicide attempts.

The program identifies leaders as role models, and establishes expectations for Airman regarding the awareness of suicide risk, while developing population skills and knowledge.

In order to help save future lives, the program also provides a framework for the analysis of each individual suicide by senior leadership.
As friends, family and wingmen, it is our responsibility to remain vigilant and tune into signs of distress from those around us. Signs of distress may include verbalized thoughts of death, recent major life traumas, giving away possessions, and increased isolation.

In addition to these signs, you must be aware of those who may be at a higher risk of suicide. Those suffering from depression or who have a history of suicide attempts are at an increased risk.  Drug and alcohol use are also factors to consider; their use impairs judgment and increases the risk for making impulsive decisions.

There are several resources to help manage individual stressors.

These resources include Military OneSource, personal financial counselors, stress management classes, fitness counseling, parent support courses and social events. Drug and alcohol counseling services, and mental health direct-unit outreach efforts are also available.

Protecting yourself and others from harm is critical. We are all able to make a positive impact, regardless of our role or position in the work center.

The Air Force is committed to building a community that recognizes Airmen in distress and intervenes appropriately to provide assistance. We can all make a difference by helping others understand they are not alone, and by ensuring that they get the help they need.