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Army observes September as Suicide Prevention Month

Effective suicide prevention requires everyone to be aware of the risk factors for suicide and know how to respond. (U.S. Air Force graphic) Effective suicide prevention requires everyone to be aware of the risk factors for suicide and know how to respond. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

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The Army is committed to the health, safety, and well-being of its Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, and families. To emphasize this commitment, the Army is joining the nation in observing September as National Suicide Prevention Month.

Every person has a responsibility and commitment to reach out and help fellow Soldiers, civilians, or family members who need the strength of the Army. Together, a difference can be made by helping those who are at risk and suicides can be prevented.

Effective suicide prevention requires everyone to be aware of the risk factors for suicide and know how to respond.

If a person seems suicidal, the time to take action is now. Talk to that person before it is too late. Be direct and talk openly. Listen, and allow them to express their feelings.

Battle buddies are the front line in surveillance and detection of high-risk behavior. Be a buddy, learn the warning signs of suicide, and find out how to help someone threatening suicide.

Employ ACE

Ask, care, escort, or ACE, is an easy-to-remember acronym that any Soldier, leader, family member, or civilian can use.

  • Ask your buddy – Have the courage to ask the question, but stay calm. Ask the question directly, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”
  • Care for your buddy – Remove any means that could be used for self-injury. Calmly control the situation; do not use force. Actively listen to produce relief.
  • Escort your buddy — Never leave your buddy alone. Escort to the chain of command, a chaplain, a behavioral health professional, or a primary care provider.

Know the signs

Do you know the warning signs for suicide?

If anyone you know exhibits the following signs, get help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK.

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself.
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means.
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person.
  • Feeling hopeless.
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge.
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities.
  • Feeling trapped.
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use.
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society. This includes feeling anxious or agitated, being unable to sleep, or sleeping all the time. It also includes experiencing dramatic mood changes or seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life.

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