Air Force

February 7, 2013

Watching your wingmen

Senior Airman Michael Washburn
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

As military members, it is everyone’s job to watch out for each other. See an Airman with a jacked-up uniform, fix it for them. The same is true if someone knows an Airman who may be showing signs of contemplating suicide.

According to the Associated Press, the number of Air Force suicides in 2012 was 59. That number was up 16 percent from 2011.

Suicide is not a spur of the moment decision. There are a number of indicators when someone is thinking of ending their life. The way someone can notice these indicators is personally getting to know the people they work with.

“Just be a good wingman,” said Airman 1st Class Michael Osten, mental health technician. “People should pretty much know everyone they work with, so they should know how they usually act. If someone loves to go to the gym, and then suddenly one day stops, question him. One of the biggest things is to actually question people. People should be looking for a change, and ask questions if they see one. Be straightforward with them and ask the question: ‘Are you thinking about suicide.’”

Another big indicator is if someone is giving away possessions that are very dear to them.

“If someone has a watch they love that their grandfather gave them and they go up to another Airman and say, ‘I really want you to have this,’ then that’s a big indicator that something is wrong,” Osten said. “People don’t do things like that.”

One reason Osten thinks people may consider suicide is the lack of a support system.

“Some people are coming right out of high school or some 18-year-old that’s lived at home their whole life is moving across the U.S. and away from their family,” Osten said. “If something goes wrong, they don’t have their parents, grandparents or friends that they can go to for help.”

If someone is considering hurting themself or thinking about suicide, D-M has different support agencies on base people can go to if they need help.

“Mental Health has a few things Airmen can utilize,” Osten said. “We have a psychologist on staff; we also have a limited privileged suicide prevention program. Let’s say that someone is under investigation for using an illegal substance. Their career is on the line and it can be a very stressful time for them. They can come in and if they fall under the LPSPP, their mental health charts for that period of time can’t be taken by the investigative services. They can talk to us without worrying about saying something that may make it back to the investigators.”

Besides mental health, the Airman and Family Readiness Center is another tool to use, as well as the base Chaplains.

“The bottom line is to just ask if it looks like someone is going to hurt themself,” Osten said. “Don’t be afraid to ask the question. Be a good wingman and get someone the help they need, when they need it.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(Courtesy Photo)

A Q&A with Master Sgt. Jaime Lewis

The men and women of the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) welcomed a new First Sgt. in May. Master Sgt. Jaime M. Lewis, began his career in 2000 as an Aerial Porter, where he performed duties such as passenger services, car...
 
 

Payday lenders prey on Airmen

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Arizona — Loans can be very useful in life. From paying off bills to moving expenses, loans can help Airmen out when they need it. Sometimes Airmen are attracted to a less than ideal option of obtaining cash other than getting a traditional loan. What they may not realize is that going to...
 
 

Fit force ups fighting game

  LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — Whether once or twice a year, all officers and enlisted Airmen must participate in the Air Force’s fitness assessment. The purpose of the Air Force Fitness Program is to emphasize total fitness of today’s Airmen. By participating in a year-round physical program that includes eating healthy, aerobic conditioning, strength and...
 

 
(U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Viper Demo Team pilot ‘Rockets’ to new heights

  SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. — An F-16CM Fighting Falcon shoots into the air, flying at a speed of 400 knots as it is pulled through various maneuvers to demonstrate its capabilities. Maneuvering the aircraft throug...
 
 

Enlisted promotion study reference material released

OINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — The Profession of Arms Center of Excellence will release Air Force Handbook 1, Airman, Oct 2015 which replaces the Professional Development Guide, and will provide enlisted Airmen information needed for promotion testing. Individual study guides, developed from the information within the handbook, are available for immediate download via www.pdg.a...
 
 

AF revolutionizes study material delivery for FY16

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Airmen studying for career development and promotion opportunities will begin to receive study materials solely online by Oct. 1, 2017. Electronic delivery of Career Development Course volumes and Weighted Airman Promotion System study references have been in place for several years with a majority of the materials accessible on Air Education and Training Command...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>