Be There

#Be There
Your action could save a life.
Suicide Prevention Month 2016

#Be There Your action could save a life. Suicide Prevention Month 2016

Scott Air Force Base, Illinois -- The military is very much about coping with the high demands and high standards of professional conduct that are expected.  Deploying around the world to austere and hostile locations can be stressful not to mention the long work hours needed to complete the mission.  This puts pressure on our Airmen and their families.  It's common for personnel to feel overwhelmed or stretched too thin.  Despite these pressures, military life can also be rewarding with benefits such as pride in serving one's country, professional accomplishment, travel around the country and world, unit camaraderie (the military is like a family), intellectual and physical challenges, educational benefits and retirement.

Unit camaraderie is a very important piece of suicide prevention.  Supervisors should connect with their Airmen so that they can identify behaviors that are different from the norm.  First, you have to establish what the norm is.  Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.  Members need to know each other and develop trust so that they can help each other in times of crisis.  People remember the military fondly due to connecting during stressful times.  Some of my best friends were made in the military, during annual training and deployments.  The camaraderie you share really goes a long way.  Connectedness is the key.  Most people that have suicidal thoughts feel disconnected from others and withdrawn from society.  Staying connected to your troops can save a life.  Ask them how they are doing and how the family is.  Show an interest in their lives and that you care about them.  Also, be sure to role model healthy self-care and good work ethics.  Your Airmen are watching you at all times.  Encourage healthy lifestyle choices: healthy eating, exercise, recreation and rest.  You can't help others if you're not healthy yourself.

An active duty Chief said, "When I was feeling suicidal it really touched me when my coworker cared enough to ask me what was wrong and offered to come to the counselor with me.  My coworker saved my life."  Some people need a nudge to ask for help, but they are always glad when they do.  Let your troops know that seeking help shows strength, responsibility, maturity and good judgment.  Those that seek help are courageous.

An Army Major reported, "We don't know the extent of the burdens that others are carrying, but it is important for people to know we can help.  It is far worse to cause a tragedy for your family instead of seeking professional assistance.  And there is a lot of help available."  We all have a personal responsibility to take care of ourselves and seek help when needed.  Don't wait until life is overwhelming that death seems to be the only answer.  Your death will not solve any problems, it will just cause more.  And life can get better.

In the end it won't be the job we had, the new house or the new car.  It will be about the relationships with family and friends that we hold dear to us, and who contribute to our emotional well-being.  So make those connections and check on your fellow Airmen; it could mean saving a life.

Linda Schuh, Director of Psychological Health is available for counseling, consultations and referrals.  Contact her for an appointment today: office: 618-256-7585, cell: 618-365-0159, email: linda.schuh.1@us.af.mil
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.