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“You can splint and patch physical wounds, but emotional wounds don’t lend themselves to such fixes. But we must continuously develop equivalent accommodations.”


Retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki
Secretary of Veterans Affairs


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Watch for Warning Signs

Failed relationships, legal and financial troubles and the high stress of wartime operations in Iraq
and Afghanistan are the leading factors linked to suicides. By being alert to signs of depression,
withdrawal, hopelessness and other warning signals, you can help. This Web special shares stories
of perseverance and experiences to help give you the knowledge to help save a life.

Stories
Defense Department

Army Releases September Suicide Data

WASHINGTON – The Army released suicide data today for the month of September, according to a DOD release. Among active-duty soldiers, there were 18 potential suicides in September. None have been confirmed as suicides and all 18 cases remain under investigation. Story

Survivors Find Comfort With TAPS

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, Kruse could barely leave her house, gripped by a loneliness and depression triggered by her husband’s suicide that nearly swallowed her in darkness.

It wasn’t until she attended her first Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors seminar that she truly emerged from the darkness, she said. TAPS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the survivors of fallen military loved ones. Story

DoD Joins Suicide Prevention Alliance

WASHINGTON – The Defense Department, Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services are joining forces to combat suicide in the military's ranks and throughout the nation. Story

U.S. Army

Suicide Prevention Begins With Recruiters, Supervisors

WASHINGTON – Recruiters should put candidates for military service under more scrutiny and supervisors need to work to identify and help troops who may be apt to commit suicide, said the Army Reserve's top officer. Story

Army Reserve-component Suicides Rising

WASHINGTON – While active-duty Army suicides are trending downward, reserve-component suicides appear to be on the rise -- a fact that worries leaders as the Army observes Suicide Prevention Month. Story

More U.S. Army Stories

U.S. Marine Corps

COMMENTARY: Dark Night of the Soul

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, Jacksonville, N.C. — Suicide is not a pretty word. It has inspired poets with its dark and incomprehensible nature. There is still the tendency to speak of it in hushed, funereal tones. Story

COMMENTARY: Suffering Doesn't End With Suicide

A holiday weekend just passed. Two of my friends didn’t celebrate with me. I can’t even begin to speculate what was going through their minds in those final moments before they took their own lives, all I can do is tell you how it affected me. Story

More U.S. Marine Corps Stories

National Guard

‘We Can Solve’ Soldier Suicides

WASHINGTON – With the spike in servicemember suicides, the Army should put the same emphasis on emotional fitness as it does on physical fitness, the acting director of the Army National Guard said here last week. Story

‘We Can Solve’ Soldier Suicides

AUSTIN, Texas – More vigilant leadership, pre-screening recruits, and better post-deployment follow up are solutions proposed by the acting director of the Army National Guard for stemming soldier suicides. Story

National Guard Meets Suicide Spike Head On

WASHINGTON - The National Guard is aggressively addressing a spike in citizen-soldier and airman suicides that reflects a trend throughout the military. “We are alarmed by the suicide rates we’re seeing inside the Army National Guard,” said Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter. Story | Special

Air National Guard

Air Guard’s 'Wingman Project' Offers Hope

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. – Citizen-airmen and their loved ones worry about the risks of combat, but they should know that a far greater risk lies in suicide, according to statistics compiled by the Air National Guard. Story | Wingman Website

U.S. Air Force

Scott AFB Hosts Suicide Prevention Field Day

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. - Leaders of the 375th Air Mobility Wing highlighted the importance of the wingman concept to prevent suicides during a day-long Suicide Prevention Field Day Sept. 23, 2010.Story

COMMENTARY: Never Knowing Why

SAN ANTONIO – "I know you'll grieve and wish that I was still here. I am here in the memories you hold dear. Remember how much I love you and know I took your love with me. I do not wish for you to cry nor feel sad." - excerpt from Kelvin Burford's poem Gone Away, written for Anthony Arline. Story

Air Force NCO Advises Ask Questions Before It's Too Late

SAN ANTONIO – When Tech. Sgt. David Bales got the call that an airman he supervised was drunk and talking about "ending it all," he immediately drove to the dormitory. He'd been around too many successful and attempted suicides to just attribute "ending it all" to a case of drunken rambling. Story

Communication Between Airmen Key to Prevention

SAN ANTONIO – More than a decade in the making, the culture of the "wingman" approach to suicide prevention is still evolving as risk factors and causes of suicide are becoming more understood. Story

More U.S. Air Force Stories

U.S. Navy

Navy Suicide Prevention: It’s an All-Hands Effort

WASHINGTON – Balancing military and personal life involves sacrifices. At times, this balancing act can cause sailors to become extremely overwhelmed and even depressed. Some sailors might seek guidance from shipmates while others can let feelings fester. Seeing no way out, 46 sailors took their lives last year. Story | Poster

Warning Signs for Suicide
  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes
  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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