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Suicide: How do we stop it from killing again?

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Suicide: a topic we would rather not think about but we must be able to talk about. We have to address the issue if we are ever to stand a chance at suicide prevention.

Suicide is a reality that plagues our world. According to the World Health Organization, approximately one million people take their own lives each year. This reality also affects our Air Force and sister services.

So, what else can we do beyond our current efforts?

We must continue to speak up with the hopes of raising awareness and in turn, preventing tragedy. We must continue to share how suicide has personally affected our lives and how we overcame our personal battles. Sharing personal stories can help others see the hope that lies in each one of us.

Knowing the warning signs of suicide is always beneficial. The mental health clinic has a plethora of resources always available to Airmen and their families. These resources teach some of the warning signs that include, but are not limited to: talking or writing about death, giving away prized possessions and losing interest in work and one's performance.

Suicide came knocking on my door April 12, 2010, when it claimed the life of my brother. The warning signs were there but I missed them due to inattention and self-absorption.

Please, I urge you, pay attention!

I would like to encourage everyone to be mindful of the people in your daily lives, for instance, loved ones at home, co-workers and even the lady who makes your morning coffee. Knowing the warning signs is a good start but knowing your people is even more important.

If someone you know is not acting like they normally do, ask them if they are ok and truly listen. Tell them you care and you want to help, and actually help.

Life is distracting. We have a million things to do every day. However, we must remain aware of each other and ourselves. At the end of the day, we need one another to get the mission done.

The mental health clinic is a great resource with trained professionals ready to assist in various capacities, ranging from prevention briefings to one-on-one counseling care.

For more information call the mental health clinic at 850-881-4237.