Many people experience emotional and mental health crises every day. For service members and veterans, their experiences in military service can exacerbate these crises to a point of no return. Learn to recognize these warning signs:
- Feeling like there is no reason to live
- Anxiety, agitation, and mood swings
- Participation in risky activities
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Withdrawal from friends and family
If the following signs are present, immediate attention is required:
- Self-destructive behavior
- Talking about death or suicide
- Thinking about hurting or killing yourself
- Looking for ways to kill yourself
If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran who is experiencing any of these signs, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1. This help is free, confidential, and available 24/7/365.
Some Myths & Realities:
Myth: Asking about suicide can plant the idea in the person’s head.
Reality: The act of asking the question simply gives the vet permission to talk about their feelings and thoughts. It does not create suicidal thoughts.
Myth: There are talkers, and then there are doers.
Reality: Most people who commit suicide have communicated some intent prior to doing so. Someone who talks about it is giving you an opportunity to intervene.
Myth: If someone really wants to die, there is nothing you can do to stop them.
Reality: Most ideas of suicide are the result of treatable disorders. Helping someone to find a safe place for treatment can save their life. You can make a difference in promoting a positive outcome.
Myth: The person won’t really commit suicide because they…
- have young children
- made vacation plans
- promised not to
Reality: The intent to die can override any rational thinking. Any thought or mention of suicide must be taken seriously.
Specific Risks for Veterans
- Deployment to hostile environments
- Frequent deployments
- Exposure to extreme stress
- Length of deployments
- Physical/sexual assault while in the service (not limited to women)
- Service-related injury