Health & Safety

October 5, 2012

Family Matters Blog: Families can support suicide stand-down

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Army conducted its worldwide stand-down for suicide prevention, Sept. 27. Family members can prepare themselves for an emergency by adding the Military Crisis Line number to their Smartphone contacts at 1-800-273-8255, press 1, or text 838255, or visit militarycrisisline.net.

All calls are confidential and are taken by trained counselors. Therefore, even if you are unsure if someone close to you may be suicidal, you can at least talk through the situation with someone who understands and can share insight.

Army vice chief of staff Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III ordered the stand-down in response to increasing soldier suicides, but noted it is a broader societal problem. “Ultimately, we want the mindset across our force and society at large to be that behavioral health is a routine part of what we do and who we are, as we strive to maintain our own physical and mental wellness,” he said.

As the Army stands down, think of the families who struggle every day with the possibility of suicide. Think of the mother who makes daily calls to check in on her son, the wife who left her husband out of concern for their children after he attempted suicide and the man who removed firearms from his brother’s house out of fear he would use them against himself. All bear unimaginable stress from the daily fear that a loved one will take his or her own life.

Think of the families for whom the recent focus on suicide prevention came too late, for those who will forever think about how they may have missed signs leading up to a suicide.

“I’m thinking of the Army family I knew who lost their only daughter to suicide when she was just 22,” said Austin. “I knew Candace as the girl across the street, an outgoing and bubbly high school student who dreamed of being a pediatrician. She was a good student and an athlete and when she wasn’t studying or running, she spent many hours at my house playing with my son while I worked, often refusing payment, she said, because she so enjoyed playing with the baby. It was clear she had a gift with children and I marveled at what the future would hold for her.”

Austin’s family moved away after a couple of years and Candace went away to college on scholarship, as expected. They lost touch after a while and somewhere in the next four years, Candace’s life got off track from what she had planned. At some point, she lost hope and took that awful step that has been called the permanent solution to temporary problems.

Eight years have passed and he still see’s Candace’s bright smile in his mind and wonders what could have been for her.
Coping with any death is hard, but families and friends of suicide victims have the added torment of trying to understand how their loved one came to their decision and if they could have stopped them, if they had recognized the signs. More than a hundred Army families are coping with the suicide of a soldier this year and no doubt, many more are dealing with another family member having taken his or her own life.

As Secretary Leon Panetta and other DOD leaders have said, understanding suicide and reversing its rising trend is hard; General Austin called it his toughest enemy. No training or information campaign will end all suicides. However, the stand-down hopefully will go a long way in helping people recognize the warning signs in a potentially suicidal person and most importantly, it will elevate the conversation out of the darkness of being a taboo topic.




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


 
 

 
U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Jennifer McLaughlin

Jones assumes command of 304th SBDE

U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Jennifer McLaughlin Col. Robin Jones, incoming 304th Sustainment Brigade commander, accepts the unit colors from Brig. Gen. Scottie Carpenter, 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command commanding genera...
 
 
Untitled-1

Creating a lifestyle of health and fitness

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Neil Ballecer Senior Airman Coral Williams, 163rd Comptroller Flight, begins a run on the March Air Reserve Base track, April 7. Running is one of the many cardiovascular exercises Williams partic...
 
 

March Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Center closes soon

The March Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Center will remain open for filing taxes until April 30, 2014. With the formal tax season now over, the March VITA Tax Center has prepared approximately 800 returns, saving nearly $100K in preparation fees, and clients have received back more than $850 thousand in combined state and federal refunds,...
 

 

Reveille: Continuing a proud military tradition

Reveille is a French word that literally means “wake up” and is traditionally played at sunrise on military installations. Here at March ARB, the 452nd Security Forces Squadron raises the national flag during reveille at 7:30 a.m. each day. The practice of reveille can be traced back to the French army, which used a form...
 
 

UPCOMING TICKETS AND TOURS EVENTS

Some restrictions apply. Times are approximate. MAY Date: May 1 Event: Price Is Right Cost: $16 per person Depart: 6:30 a.m. Return: 5:30 p.m. Description / Restrictions: Come on down to be a contestant on The Price Is Right and take your chances at becoming the big showcase winner. Ages 18 and up Deadline for...
 
 

VA disability claims backlog drops by 44 percent

One year after the backlog of pending disability compensation claims peaked at over 611,000 in March 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has reduced that number by approximately 44 percent to 344,000 claims, a reduction of more than 267,000, while at the same time improving the accuracy of the decisions being made on veterans’...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin