September: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

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The suicide rate amongst active-duty members at the end of 2018 was the highest it has been in six years.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, stressors and health issues can potentially create feelings of hopelessness and despair, often times the precursor to suicide. As military members, we have the responsibility to be aware of those around us and encourage those who seem in need to seek help. Airmen should also work to create a culture of seeking help for themselves and those who may be experiencing life-changing events, traumatic experiences, environmental stressors or safety concerns.

Typical warning signs may include feelings of hopelessness, decreased interest in enjoyable activities, displaying grief and talking about death or dying. Early intervention is key. Our involvement and support can save lives. People who display warning signs of suicidal behaviors can decrease their risk with healthy coping methods. We can educate those who are closest to us and spread awareness on how to help those who may display these behaviors.

Some healthy coping mechanisms are meditation, exercise, talking to friends and family, reading, listening to music and seeking professional counseling. The use of apps such as Breath2Relax, LifeArmor, Virtual Hope Box, and T2 Mood Tracker are great tools to assist with resiliency. They can help an individual better recognize potential health problems and mood triggers in their daily life.

Seek professional counseling services if your current methods of coping aren’t helpful. The Luke Air Force Base Mental Health Clinic has walk-in hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday for Airmen in acute crisis. The Behavioral Health Optimization Program and The Military & Family Life Consultant, specialize in brief counseling services for active-duty members. The MFLAC also offers undocumented counseling services outside a clinical setting for all beneficiaries. In addition to the undocumented sessions, the chaplain services have 100% confidentiality. BHOP is available in the primary care clinic by appointment or as a walk-in.

As wingmen, supervisors and leaders, we strive to take care of ourselves, peers and subordinates. Being aware of changes in behavior, work performance, and our personal lives are vital to ensuring the inability to cope with stress does not lead to negative coping behaviors.

Resources

Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention & Treatment 623-856-7579

Airmen & Family Readiness Center 623-856-6550

Behavioral Health Optimization Program 623-856-2273

Chaplain 623-856-6211

Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate 602-789-3355

Family Advocacy Program 623-856-3417

Mental Health Clinic 623-856-7579

Military & Family Life Consultant 623-238-0565

Military One Source 800-707-5784

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK
(8255)

Sexual Assault Response Coordinator 623-856-4878