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News > Avoiding the Holiday Blues: Suicide Awareness
Avoiding the Holiday Blues: Suicide Awareness

Posted 12/18/2009   Updated 12/18/2009 Email story   Print story


by Jon Fishman

12/18/2009 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- It is important to address the issue of suicide, while it is not a topic people are comfortable talking about, thoughts of suicide can strike almost anybody. A good number of adults may experience vague suicidal thinking for a brief period during the course of their lives, but the overwhelming majority does not act on those thoughts. Suicidal thinking arises when people experience intensely emotionally painful states in which they cannot find a way to cope with or resolve their difficulties. At this point suicide appears to them to be the only solution or way out of the situation.

Individuals who are thinking about suicide do exhibit behaviors that usually can be detected by those who are familiar with the warning signs. While there is no one single cause of suicide there are many contributing factors, which include relationship problems, legal issues and financial difficulties. There are also a number of myths that need to be dispelled;

* It is false to assume that people who talk about suicide are unlikely to do it; they may only be seeking attention. This could actually be a last plea for help before an attempt.

* Suicidal people really want to die and nothing will stop them. Most suicidal people are undecided if they really want to die and just want the pain to stop.

The majority of suicides are preventable. To do so, take any suicidal threat seriously. There are a number of clues that can alert one a potential suicide.

Obvious clues include:

· Direct statements about suicide intent such as "I am going to kill myself", "I wish I were dead", "I'd be better off dead", Making preparations.

· Telling other about funeral whishes, Greater levels of uncharacteristic and obvious risk taking,

· having the means, such as weapons

Hidden clues include:

· Withdrawal from family and friends

· Changes in personality or mood

· Excessively spending money they do not have

· Appearing overwhelmed by stressors

· Change in work place performance

· Displaying poor impulse control

· Feeling rejected

· Seeing their situation as hopeless

· Thinking about death frequently

· Giving away important possessions

· Making a will

· Buying a weapon

· Previous suicide ideation or attempt

Mixed clues include:

· Loss of clear thinking

· Rigid thinking preventing problem solving or recognition of alternative

· Frustration with life

· Feeling anxious, sad, confused or out of place.

If you think a person is considering suicide, do not leave the person alone, call Mental Health or 911, isolate the person from any further tension, establish privacy, and notify the chain of command.

If you notice someone having a tough time, take the time to talk and care. Refer them to the Chapel, Life Skills, or one of the other helping agencies.

Chaplains can be reached during duty hours at 277-2110 and after duty hours through the Command Post at 277-3040. For questions concerning suicide prevention call Mr. Jon Fishman at 275-3395.

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