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You Are Not Alone: Suicide Prevention Tools for Warriors

Military Crisis Line

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, know that you are not alone. Suicide is a medical emergency and care should be sought immediately by calling 911.  Free, confidential resources are instantly available through the Military Crisis Line to aid you if you are in crisis.  Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, or chat online now for 24/7 access to trained counselors who understand what service members and military families are coping with.

Some service members may face emotional or psychological concerns such as feelings of anger, isolation, anxiety or guilt following a deployment  or as a result of coping with the stress of military life. These reactions, among others, can be common responses to extraordinary events. For some service members, these feelings may be signs of more serious concerns, including depression  or posttraumatic stress disorder.  Warriors coping with these concerns may feel like there is no escape from their symptoms, which may lead to thoughts of suicide.1 However, warriors should be assured that tools that encourage resilience and recovery are available and they work.

How Do I Know if I Am Showing Warning Signs?

Contact a friend, family member, commanding officer, health professional or the Military Crisis Line immediately if you are:2

  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself
  • Seeking access to pills, weapons or other means of harming yourself
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide

It is also important to seek out professional help if you are experiencing any of these signs of concern:2

  • Being unable to sleep or oversleeping
  • Withdrawing from friends, family or society
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Acting recklessly or engaging in risky behavior
  • Experiencing excessive rage, anger or desire for revenge
  • Having feelings of anxiety, agitation or hopelessness
  • Reliving past experiences
  • Experiencing dramatic changes in mood
  • Feeling hopeless

What Tools Can Help Me Cope While I Seek Treatment?

The most important step in combating thoughts of suicide is reaching out for professional support through resources like the Military Crisis Line. Professional support is critical to recovering to peak performance.  In addition, the following tips can help you on your journey of recovery and resilience:3

Who Can I Reach Out to for More Information and Support?

In addition to trained professionals at the Military Crisis Line, you can access suicide prevention resources and links through the Defense Suicide Prevention Office suicide outreach page and the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE)’s suicide prevention page. You can also access suicide prevention resources within the services: 

Reaching Out Is a Sign of Strength

America’s service members and veterans are strong. Sometimes reaching out for help can be the most challenging and worthwhile mission of all. If you are experiencing or if you suspect someone may be experiencing thoughts of suicide, seek help immediately by calling the Military Crisis Line  at 800-273-8255 and press 1 or chat online now.

Additional Resources

Sources

1 Hudenko, W. “PTSD and Suicide Fact Sheet,” National Center for PTSD, Department of Veterans Affairs. Last accessed Oct. 18, 2013.
2Risk and Protective Factors," [PDF 482.84KB] Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. Published September 2011.
3Coping and Support," The Mayo Clinic. Last accessed Oct. 18, 2013.

Last Reviewed: 10/16/13
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