Youngsville, (PressExposure) February 23, 2012 -- SUICIDE: In military personnel, a new brochure for veterans, was written to help service members and families recognize and understand the warning signs of risks for suicide. Author LaShanta Petroski-Ackley, L.I.C.S.W. is a member of the suicide prevention team and Maureen K. O'Connor, Psy.D. is Director of Neuropsychology at the Bedford VA Medical Center in Bedford, Massachusetts. Marilyn Lash, M.S.W. is President at Lash & Associates Publishing/Training Inc. The authors of this brochure are aware that many veterans feel alone, misunderstood and many times, hopeless -some of the warning signs of suicide risk.
As veterans return from long and repeated deployments and adjust to home and family life, many silently deal with depression associated with post traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, amputations, burns and traumatic brain injury, the "signature wound" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They often resist counseling because of the mental health stigma and fear of being discharged or demoted. "Suicide rates among service members have increased since 2004," says Dr. O'Connor. She continues, "Suicide is preventable with appropriate treatment, so it is crucial for veterans who have suicidal thoughts to seek help sooner rather than later."
It is important to know the warning signs that suggest an increased risk for suicide. Petroski-Ackley explains, "Sometimes it can be difficult to see the signs and know what to do. Sadly, some families and friends say they saw no warning signs, while others recognized signs but did not know what to do." Here are some of the signs:
- threatening to hurt or kill oneself
- sense of hopelessness
- signs of clinical depression: deep sadness, loss of interest, difficulty sleeping (too much or too little), eating (too much or too little)
- feeling anxious or agitated
- neglecting personal hygiene
- withdrawal from friends, family, and society
- expressing feelings of excessive guilt, shame
- rage, anger, or seeking revenge
- feeling that life is not worth living
- having no sense of purpose in life
- acting recklessly, violent behavior or self-destructive violence
- family history of suicide
- history of abuse (physical, sexual or emotional)
- multiple health problems, especially a newly diagnosed problem or worsening symptoms
If you recognize of any of these warning signs, please tell someone you trust. "The first step to getting help is letting someone know what you are thinking," offers Lash.
"Check out resources designed specifically for veterans and suicide prevention."