All responsible for suicide prevention

  • Published
  • By Capt. Philip Hatfield
  • 347th Medical Group Behavioral Health Flight
Most people would do anything to avoid death. However, the fact remains some people commit suicide, and there is not always an easy or clear answer to why a person would end his own life. 

Many people who have attempted but failed to end their lives tell us they were in intense, overwhelmed emotional states. This out-of-control state led them to be unable to clearly think or reason their way out of the situation. 

Other people often indicated they had lost hope, could not find a way out or had suffered an extreme humiliation or overwhelming guilt. 

Sometimes people suffering a chronic illness or the victims of abuse end their lives as a means of escape. 

All these scenarios are certainly tragic, but research consistently indicates there is never just "one" cause of suicide. The reality is the circumstances of those who complete such a drastic measure are very complex and they don't always give others time to intervene. 

Yet, there is hope for prevention. The majority of people attempting to end their life give many warnings or indications they are seriously considering suicide. 

The symptoms can be recognized by those familiar with the signs. Once a genuine risk is identified, clear steps can be taken to help the person and potentially save their life. 

The Air Force offers numerous training, educational and other learning opportunities to guide you in dealing with a person considering suicide. 

Being a responsible wingman means all of us need to get involved. Volunteers who teach Suicide Prevention briefings can conduct squadron-level briefs and assist in base-level events. All volunteers will be given training and materials to conduct briefings, and trained Behavioral Health staff are available for support. 

Don't wait to get involved; one day you may be the one who counts in a crisis. Now is the time to become involved as Suicide Prevention Month kicks off. 

Programs such as Moody Suicide Prevention needs mature, concerned members to volunteer as instructors.