Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Suicide.

Suicide is a topic that is all to close to home for many families in America. And it is extremely close to home for a growing number of military families as the numbers for 2013 are trending upward.

“A veteran or service member returning from a deployment, [whether] at home or abroad, is subject to a certain amount of distress,” said Jacqueline Garrick, director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office. “Regardless of where they served, there still are challenges when they return home, and we want to encourage them to seek help.”

Officials at the Defense and Veterans Affairs Departments are attempting to avert suicide by making sure families, friends and communities that surround veterans and service members are aware of the signs and symptoms of suicide, to get those at risk into treatment right away, Garrick said.

Garrick said seeking early treatment before the symptoms worsen is vital. Veterans and service members who stall treatment might do so for many reasons, such as fear of losing their jobs, “but they [should] see it as a way to save their careers,” she added.

“Seeking help is a sign of strength,” Garrick said. “They won’t lose their jobs, and avoiding help doesn’t make an individual’s concerns go away."

“Letting problems get worse doesn’t make your career get better,” Garrick said. “The problems that are not dealt with are just going to manifest themselves and get bigger further down the road. We want to encourage veterans [and] service members to get help early, because it does make a difference in the long term.”

Suicide is not unique to the military, Garrick noted, adding that it is a societal issue, and successful treatment is easily available. For veterans and service members, Garrick said that help is available around the clock at http://www.suicideoutreach.org and through the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, which offer confidential chats and texting capabilities.

The website offers a wealth of resources, including the announcements, videos and a variety of information on how to seek help for service members, friends and families, Garrick said.

Garrick noted that in addition to the need for family members to help distressed service members and veterans, the family members themselves can be distressed, and should take advantage of the resources and seek help if that’s the case.

The topic of suicide will be discussed in greater detail on my blog in the coming weeks and days.

We can stop Veterans from making that ultimate decision, I have faith.



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