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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Suicide Prevention Month

Anytime someone takes their own life it is a tragedy beyond our understanding. Not only is the person gone from this life forever, others - parents, spouses, siblings, children, other loved ones and friends suffer deeply.

We all know most suicidal thoughts are just fleeting moments that then disappear, although, sometimes those few moments leave too late. We often don't see those angry people correctly. Anger is like a huge blanket covering so many other emotions. Emotions that need to be dealt with.

Many people have risk factors. "Risk factors" refer to an individual's characteristics, circumstances, history and experiences that raise the risk for suicide.

The Department of Defense has this to say:

HOW TO READ THE 'NEGATIVE LIFE EVENTS THAT INCREASE SUICIDE RISK' LIST: Having experienced any one (or even several) of the items listed in the Negative Life Events list does not necessarily mean that a person is suicidal or contemplating self-harm. However, these negative experiences do increase the risk of suicidal behavior when compared with individuals who have not experienced such events.

INCREASED DISPOSITION TO ENGAGE IN SELF-HARM: When compared with individuals who have not experienced these events, the occurrence of an immediate "precipitating event" such as a personal crisis may increase the suicide risk for people who have previously encountered the life events noted in the Negative Life Events list.

NEGATIVE LIFE EVENTS THAT INCREASE SUICIDE RISK:

History of one or more prior suicide attempts. Family history of suicide. Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others. History of violence or hostility. History of family violence. History of physical or sexual abuse. Psychiatric illness. Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse. Chronic physical illness, including chronic pain. Loss of health (real or imaginary). Recent, severe loss (especially a marriage or relationship), or threat of significant loss. Being faced with a situation of humiliation or failure. Recent or impending incarceration. Difficult times: holidays, anniversaries, and the first week after discharge from a hospital; just before and after diagnosis of a major illness; just before and during disciplinary proceedings. Assignment or placement into a new and/or unfamiliar environment. Difficulty adjusting to new demands and different workloads. Lack of adequate social and coping skills. Academic, occupational, or social pressures. Loss of job, home, money, status, self-esteem, personal security.

OTHER RISK FACTORS RELEVANT TO MILITARY LIFE:

Male gender. Caucasian race. E-1 to E-2 rank. Younger than 25 years of age. GED/less than high-school education. Divorce or recent relationship failure. Regular component. Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Relationship Problems. Legal, administrative, and financial problems.

Disclaimer:The Defense Suicide Prevention Office is a policy office and does not provide crisis services.

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