Health & Safety

September 6, 2013

True friends make all the difference

Friends, family can help loved ones experiencing suicidal thoughts

The Department of Behavioral Health at Mary Walker Clinic, here, wants to do its part in helping slow the rising trend in Army suicides.

In 2012, more than 350 active duty servicemembers, across all military branches, took their own lives; of these, 182 were Soldiers. This year, the Army reported 42 suicides as having occurred through July.

Dr. Earl R. Seegrist, a Clinical Psychologist at the Department of Behavioral Health, decided to work with Soldiers and their families in 2009 when he read in a report that the Army was losing more Soldiers to suicides than to enemy combatants.

Seegrist said that one of the ways Soldiers can help their buddies is by “being a true friend.” A lot of times, he said, servicemembers feel abandoned by friends or family and they lose hope that things will ever get better.

“It is during these times that a true friend will make all the difference,” Seegrist said. “True friends never quit, they never give up, and they never leave a discouraged or depressed friend alone.”

Abandoned, distressed, discouraged, lonely and depressed servicemembers are more likely to seek suicide as a solution to their current problems, Seegrist said.

Many Soldiers who have attempted suicide and survived say if friends or family had stuck with them, it would not have happened. Most suicides are attempted while people are alone and not in the company of friends or family, Seegrist said. One of the best ways to stop or “talk down” a fellow Soldier from suicidal thoughts is to talk to them about their hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Determine if they are looking for “sunrises versus sunsets.” Are they looking forward to a new day and for things to brighten up, or not? Seegrist also mentioned that if you discover that your buddy is feeling overwhelmed, distressed, helpless or hopeless, “never leave them alone, stay with them and help them find hopeful solutions.

“Physically go with them to get professional help,” Seegrist said.

There are certain factors that exacerbate the thoughts of suicide in Soldiers. There is a high correlation between suicide and alcohol consumption, said Seegrist.

“Soldiers should also be aware of what is playing in your friend’s historical thoughts: combat experiences, symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ruminating over the loss of a relationship or loved ones – the anniversaries of the loss of someone close can be especially dangerous,” Seegrist said.

It is fine to ask a fellow Soldier if he or she is thinking of hurting him or herself, Seegrist said.

“Even for a psychologist, it is a hard question to ask, and I really have to gather all my feelings to ask it every time,” Seegrist explained.

Through the month of September, the Department of Behavioral Health will participate in on-post activities to raise awareness and prevent Soldier suicides. Behavioral Health Specialists will be visiting with units on-post to get the word out and answer questions Soldiers may have.

There are many sources available to Soldiers on Fort Irwin and on the internet, where servicemembers can find someone to talk with and seek the individualized help they may need. The Department of Behavioral Health, located in the Mary E. Walker Clinic, building 170, has a walk-in crisis clinic, available for Soldiers and Family members, who are concerned about having thoughts of suicide or homicide. You will always find a caring, understanding professional that is willing to listen, understand and help. Clinic hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. During after hours, go directly to the closest hospital emergency room and ask to speak to a counselor.

Another good alternative for Soldiers in crisis is to seek immediate help from a MilitaryOneSource counselor through the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text to 838255. For non-medical and non-crisis counseling, Soldiers can also contact a Fort Irwin Military and Family Life Consultant at (760) 499-4261, (760) 835-2387 or (760) 218-6171. Chaplain services are also available at (760) 380-3562 or 5458. Fort Irwin Soldiers and beneficiaries can reach the Department of Behavioral Health at (760) 380-3631 or (760) 380-7367.




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


 
 

 

Exchange resolves to promote healthier living

According to Sourcewire, nearly a quarter of Americans vow to get fit for the New Year. The Fort Irwin Exchange is doing its part to make it easier for Soldiers, and Families, to watch their “bottom lines” when making dining choices on and off duty. Dining in the Exchange’s Fort Irwin Food Court doesn’t have...
 
 

Avoid being a No Show

“No Shows” are missed medical appointments that may negatively impact your ability to access health care here. A No Show is defined as an appointment that is scheduled, but not cancelled or honored by the patient. A No Show is a lost opportunity to provide healthcare services to you and to another patient, who could...
 
 
CathyBellard_LVN_LeesySublett

Story Time teaches children about safety helmets

Miriam Fuentes, military spouse here, took her daughter Devannie to Story Time at the Fort Irwin library, March 12. Sergeant Steve Steiner, a health technician at Behavioral Health with MEDDAC, imitated the voices of characters...
 

 

Aiming to reduce stigma of TBI

National Brain Injury Awareness Month a time to get informed, get treatment In order for more individuals to seek treatment for traumatic brain injuries, the social stigma associated with that “invisible wound” must be reduced. That is the message Maj. Shirley Daniel, chief and program manager of the TBI/Concussive Injury Clinic at Weed Army Community...
 
 

March is National Brain Injury Aware- ness Month and Fort Irwin medical personnel will be informing the com- munity about the symptoms and dan- gers of traumatic brain injuries.

arch is National Brain Injury Aware- ness Month and Fort Irwin medical personnel will be informing the com- munity about the symptoms and dangers of traumatic brain injuries. Weekly radio broadcasts on KNTC 88.3 FM during the month, information booths in various locations, and activities with chil- dren will be held to provide the community...
 
 

Know the symptoms, dangers of brain injuries

A traumatic brain injury is a disruption of brain function resulting from a blow or jolt to the head or penetrating head injury. A TBI can occur on the battlefield, on the football field, on the playground, in a car accident, and even at home. There are four categories of TBI including mild, moderate, severe...
 




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