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NEWS | Sept. 20, 2012

Strength, Resiliency, and Knowing Your People... Key Elements of Suicide Prevention

By Staff Sgt. Anna Oluich 579th Medical Group

Suicide prevention is more than training, it's more than a pamphlet; it is about people - our greatest asset.

When someone chooses to take their own life, the loss has a great impact on family, friends, and our military mission.

For those who've been affected by suicide there are a lot of questions which usually go unanswered: "Why?", "How could someone take their life?", "What could I have done to prevent this?"

While the answers to these questions are important, the unfortunate truth is that despite our best efforts, we may not be able to prevent all suicides.

We are a military under great demands. Now more than ever, we are operating under stress and at a high tempo. Add to this other everyday stressors such as living away from home, relationship issues, legal concerns or economic strain. These stressors combined, cause some people to find themselves mentally stretched to the limit.

Strengthening our own resolve and maintaining resilience under stress, increases how fast we bounce back from difficult times.

Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness and does not have to impact someone's career. It shows wisdom and good judgment by using the available resources to resolve issues early.

Taking care of each other goes beyond rank, title, or position. It is seeing a Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airmen, Coast Guardsman, civilian or contractor first and foremost as a human being.
It's about building relationships and recognizing the value of each person.

Challenge yourself. Re-examine the way you interact with your coworkers.

The Air Force 579th Medical Group suggests the following: Talk face-to-face versus sending an email. Get to know as many people in your work space as possible. Ask tough questions when someone seems different.

Knowing each other on a personal level strengthens our community and, most importantly, helps identify those in need and at risk.

Hear the voice of the person that works next to you and get to know them well enough to help. What are they telling you? And importantly, are you listening to what they're saying?

Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling has a number of resources to assist: The Mental Health Clinic (202-767-0611), Chaplain Services (202-767-5900), and the Military Family Life Consultants (202-253-5059).

Remember - The greatest resource regarding prevention is you! Calling someone or asking someone for help can save a life - Yours!