Health & Safety

June 29, 2012

Severing the chain reactions that can lead to suicide

By Senior Airman Jack Sanders
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Those last few words of the argument ring in your head as you pour another drink. Checking Facebook makes everything worse, and the more you drink the worse your thoughts become – and the worse your judgment about the situation gets.

Eventually, the growing voice inside your head telling you to end it all becomes impossible to ignore. The chain reaction of events has overwhelmed your ability to cope. A potentially deadly crossroads looms among thoughts of suicide.

“Most suicides come as a chain reaction or a stacking effect of different stress factors, with relationships, finance, legal and alcohol as the top factors,” said Capt. Jose Ortega 99th Mental Health Squadron, Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention chief, Resiliency Officer in Charge and Traumatic Stress Response Team chief.

Stacking stressors result in a domino effect. Each event crashes into another, increasing the damage until it can no longer be tolerated.

These life events weigh heavily on the daily thought process — a warning sign that things are beyond one’s ability to keep them in control. Without assistance and deliberate, healthy methods of coping, they increasingly impact work, health, relationships and every facet of life until they are totally overwhelming.

“Fighting to keep the balance of military issues in life is difficult,” Ortega said. “It’s like looking at a puzzle with a lot of missing pieces, and not realizing you can’t put it all together on your own. You have to balance work with relationships, deployments and many other factors, and it’s hard to keep it all balanced. When the balances is lost or the buildup of stressors becomes too much, that’s when people enter a dangerous world.”

The problem is on the rise and suicides at Nellis have increased.  Fortunately, prevention is possible. Help is available, both for the individual and for those who could be in the position to help others.

“Resiliency is our best weapon, and the more we train the better we’ll become at preventing these incidents,” Ortega said.

Recognizing the danger is a key component of helping to prevent injury. The first line of defense against this threat is the first line supervisor.

“Front line supervisors can make a difference and see distress before most others would,” Ortega said. “We offer a class for supervisors, but I’d recommend supervisors take the time to attend all the classes we offer. The more they know about the subjects the easier it will be to catch.”

The Mental Health flight offers classes for both Nellis and Creech. Classes offered include, but are not limited to, anger management, healthy thinking and couples counseling.

“Most people tend to push stressful thoughts aside or ignore them thinking they can deal with it one day at a time and it’ll go away, but it won’t,” Ortega said.  “They’d rather deal with issues themselves than put the burden on anyone else. They may think it is weak or be afraid of consequences or just think they really can handle it — when they can’t. They’d rather take on the burden themselves, for their families or job’s sake.

“You are never alone,” Ortega said. “You aren’t as helpless as you may feel, and we are always here to help. Talk with someone. I’m always open to do one-on-ones myself.”

Good resiliency references for Airmen and supervisors are at hand. Visit the Bounce site at http://www.nellis.af.mil/units/nellismedicalcenter/bounce.asp or the Air Force suicide prevention website at http://www.af.mil/suicideprevention.asp.




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler

40 years of Red Flag ends on high note

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler A C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 437th Airlift Wing, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., flies to the Nevada Test and Training Range during Red Flag 15-4, Aug. 25. With a...
 
 

Never underestimate your impact

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey — Every day I visit our great Airmen and every day I come across more than one that underestimates their impact to the mission. There’s the one-stripe maintainer, “just repaneling an aircraft,” for the next day’s flight, or the young personalist, “just issuing another identification card,” or the defender, “just guarding...
 
 

Challenge yourself: Never give up, never quit

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. — I once read that newly created cells in our bodies do one of two things: they either begin to decay or they become more vital. These cells choose their path based on what we demand of them. If we are sedentary, our brains signal our cells to decay; but...
 

 

SECDEF visits Nellis

U.S. Air Force photo by Lawrence Crespo U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks with Airmen from Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases during an all-call at the Lightning Aircraft Maintenance Unit hangar on Nellis AFB, Nev., Aug. 26. Carter’s department is responsible for policy development, planning, resource management, fiscal, and program evaluations for the...
 
 

Air Force extends SAPR services to AF civilians

WASHINGTON — The Air Force released a policy memo today allowing Air Force civilian employees who are victims of sexual assault to file restricted and unrestricted reports with their installation’s sexual assault response coordinator. The policy is effective immediately and allows SARCs and sexual assault prevention and response victim advocates to assist Air Force civilians...
 
 

TRICARE pharmacy rules changing for maintenance, brand-name drugs

WASHINGTON — TRICARE beneficiaries who take certain brand-name medications on a regular basis will be required to fill prescriptions at a military treatment facility or through a mail-in program beginning Oct. 1, a Defense Health Agency official said here Aug. 20. George Jones, DHA’s pharmacy operations division chief, said the new policy does not apply...
 




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>