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Know Your Support Services for Suicide Prevention

By Salute to Spouses Staff 

A new study suggests that suicide attempts within a military unit may lead to more.

This summer CNN reported that a study in the JAMA Psychiatry journal found that a suicide attempt by one individual in a unit is often followed by more attempts by other members of that unit. 

CNN reported, “The greater the number of previous suicide attempts in a unit, the greater the individual risk of a suicide attempt for a soldier in that unit, said Dr. Robert Ursano, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience and director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Department of Defense's Uniformed Services University.”

Historically, the rates of suicide in military ranks were about half of the civilian population. Since 2009, suicide rates among military members and veterans have remained above that of their civilian counterparts. According to the military health system, about 20 percent of suicide deaths in the United States are military veterans.

September is suicide aware and prevention month. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention urges individuals to be aware of warning signs and risk factors.

“When you approach someone you think might be struggling with suicide you might just have saved a life. If not, the odds are pretty big that they were in distress and needed someone to reach out. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Ashley Foster, area director for national organization’s Alabama and Mississippi chapters.

She said to be aware of this list of suicide warning signs:


If a person talks about:

  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Experiencing unbearable pain
  • Having no reason to live
  • Killing themselves


Specific things to look out for include:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
  • Acting recklessly
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression


People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression
  • Loss of interest
  • Rage
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation
  • Anxiety


If you need someone to talk to or are having feelings of suicide, call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Learn more about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at:

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