With September being recognized as National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, the Department of Defense (DoD) is taking the opportunity to encourage the military community to be on the lookout for potential warning signs of depression and suicide. In an effort to help, the DoD recently shed some light on some of the symptoms of suicidal thoughts.
Many soldiers face mental health hurdles when they return home from overseas, and with tens of thousands of troops leaving Afghanistan over the next two years, the need for a focus on psychological well being is especially high.
"I think the first key factor is to understand the signs and symptoms of suicide, and not to be afraid to ask the question," Jacqueline Garrick, acting director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office, told the American Forces Press Service. "It’s a myth that if you ask somebody, ‘Are you feeling suicidal?’ that you’ll put a thought in their head. And that’s just not going to happen."
Garrick says that some behavioral changes can be indicative of something more serious. For instance, increased risk taking, substance abuse or changes in insurance coverage may all be hints.
The need for suicide awareness is especially great right now. According to The Associated Press, the U.S. military suicide rate doubled from July to June.