Suicide Prevention Month

  • Published
  • By Lt. Cmdr. Ken Simmet
  • 92nd Medical Group mental health deputy flight commander
Although Suicide Prevention Awareness is a year-round endeavor, September is designated as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month so that special attention can be brought to the subject of Suicide Prevention, to highlight how much of a waste in human life and potential the act of suicide is and to educate people about the help that is available to individuals considering suicide as their only way out of a difficult situation.

Suicide is most prevalent with persons between the ages of 18 and 30. Unfortunately, many people in this age group haven't gained enough experience to know that life is about change and they have a tendency to see life as black and white, all or nothing. Many of you have heard me say that the one constant in our lives is change. Life is kind of like the weather, if you don't like it, stick around, it will change. When we are depressed and have a negative outlook, it is sometimes difficult to remember that no matter how bad life may seem, it can and will change.

There are many resources available for those in crisis. One such resource is the Military Crisis Line. The Military Crisis Line is a Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs joint resource. MCL connects Service members in crisis and their families with qualified, caring VA professionals through a confidential toll-free hotline and online chat. That number is 1-800-273-8255. Another option for those in distress is Military Onesource. They offer free counseling on the phone, for persons who would like to talk to someone about their issues and still maintain anonymity. Their number is 1-800-342-9647.

Other resources, located right here at Fairchild are:

Chaplain Services---247-2264: There are four chaplains and they offer 100% confidentiality regarding your issues.

Mental Health Clinic---247-2731: Addresses mental health issues, substance abuse problems, as well as all aspects of inter-personal relations. Many classes are offered to help learn skills to navigate life's challenges, before they become challenges.

Airman & Family Readiness---247-2246: Another wonderful resource for learning how to deal with life's obstacles. They offer numerous courses to manage our daily lives.

Military Family Life Consultant---509-592-6951/6949: A great resource for when you just need to talk to someone, off the record. They are available from 0800-2000 hrs, every day. They can meet to talk anywhere except your home or your auto. They do not document their conversations.

Gym---247-3948: Exercise always helps to reduce stress and anxiety.

Health And Wellness Center---247-5590: If you are having a bad day and you need somewhere to go and relax for a while, check out the HAWC! They have two massage chairs that are worth the trip!

Why do we need to know about these resources? How many times in your life did everything seem to be going well and then, out of the blue, suddenly everything somersaults and life sucks? It is for times like this that we need to know there is someone we can go to for help. These resources are there for when we are having a difficult time with life's challenges.

Other, more formal options are also available. Having a support network, friends and family that you can talk to; your primary care manager; your unit commander and/or 1st Sgt.; and don't forget your wingman, all of these are sources of support and understanding when you need it most.

We are all different and we all respond to life's issues differently. But one thing is common among us all: we each need help at one point or another, in our lives. Choose to be the one with the courage and strength to ask for it and be the one to live to enjoy the benefits of that choice!