2016-2017 National Hospital Ambassador
Hospital: Do You Know the Warning Signs of Suicide?
Do you know the Five Signs of emotional suffering or the number/website to the Veterans Crisis Line? Each day, an estimated 20 veterans commit suicide. You can help lower this number and make a difference in the life of a veteran or service member in crisis by educating yourself and others about the warning signs of suicide.
Below is a personal experience and why it’s so important for each and every one of us to know the signs of someone in mental and emotional distress and be able to refer them and/or family members to someone who can help.
I was getting my hair done in late September and was telling the stylist about our Auxiliary’s upcoming breakfast “Start Your Day to Change Direction – Understanding and Coping with Military PTSD” when she started talking about her dad. She shared that he was an Army Vietnam War Veteran. We talked about some of the conditions and diseases that have been attributed to exposure to Agent Orange.
The conversation then took a turn I wasn’t expecting; she began sharing details about her dad’s recent behavior. He was:
- unusually quiet
- giving cherished items away
- depressed and
- drinking heavily
The little hairs on my neck literally stood up. She was stunned when I shared with her that he was displaying signs of mental and emotional distress. I told her to immediately call the toll free Veterans Crisis Line and ask them how to best approach her dad about the possibility of him hurting himself and getting help.
She called the Veterans Crisis Line; they told her to ask her dad if he was thinking about suicide and get him to call the Veterans Crisis Line. That call could’ve saved his life. He is now receiving care from VA Mental Health professionals and she has alerted his wife, her siblings and his friends of the warning signs and asked them to carry the Veterans Crisis Line number or store it in their cell phones.
The above experience is an example of how one life can be saved by knowing and sharing warning signs of suicide with those in your community. Every life is precious. Let’s work together to support those who have given so much for us.
Know the Five Signs: http://www.changedirection.org/#fivesigns
Veterans Crisis Line – Signs of Crisis: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/SignsOfCrisis/ ; 1.800.273.8255 Press 1