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 or texting 988. Free, confidential resources are instantly available through the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 with 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. 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:
- 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:
- 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:
- Consider writing in a journal to express pain, anger, fear or other emotions
- Be social. Get together with peers, commanding officers, family, friends or other members of the community regularly
- Stay physically fit by eating a healthy diet and getting sufficient sleep
- Use relaxation techniques to aid in stress management
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:
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