Warning Signs for suicide are different than Risk Factors. They are more observable, and should be responded to immediately. A common theme for Warning Signs is change. This is why friends, relatives, and coworkers are critical in detecting early Warning Signs of distress.
Many people who are at risk for suicide show changes in their mood such as hopelessness, depression, or anxiety. Other emotional and behavioral changes include agitation, anger, or irritability.
Changes in daily activities, for example changes in appetite or sleep, can be Warning Signs. These can include eating or sleeping significantly more or less than usual. Unusual or sudden changes in behavior, isolation, withdrawal, a loss of interest in work, or change in work performance are also Warning Signs. Even a positive mood change can be a Warning Sign if someone has been down for a while. It’s important to ask about the reasons behind the change.
And, finally, one very important Warning Sign is talking or communicating about death or suicide. All Airmen should be alert to these behaviors in others and be prepared to intervene.
The behaviors listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide.
If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently. One resource is the VETERANS/MILITARY CRISIS LINE, 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The crisis line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the crisis line via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.
If you or a servicemen you know is experiencing a crisis, use this confidential, toll-free crisis line to reach caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders. The Veterans Crisis Line can also be reached by text at 838255, or through online chat.
The MTF Locator is a convenient tool that you can use to locate the Military Treatment Facility nearest to you by searching on a map, by zip code, or geographic region.
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