Feeling overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, or hopeless or know someone who does?

Post deployment or the aftermath of any emotionally charged event can result in despondency which can end in suicidal thoughts or behavior.

One person in the United States commits suicide every 16 minutes. For every person that commits suicide, 8 to 25, depending the resources used, attempt suicide, but do not die. Women attempt suicide 2 to 3 times more often than men, but men succeed at killing themselves 4 times more often. Men, 75 years old and older, hold the highest completion rate for suicide. At least 14.5% of high school students report seriously considering suicide. Whites are the most likely to commit suicide, and African Americans are the least likely.

How do you know when you or someone else needs help? If you experience the symptoms below or if you witness someone you know exhibiting any of these symptoms, seek help as soon as possible:

• Hopelessness
• Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
• Recklessness, engaging in risky activities
• Feeling trapped
• Increased alcohol or drug use
• Withdrawing from family, friends, society
• Anxiety, agitation
• Unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
• No sense of purpose in life
• Dramatic mood changes

Many people contemplate suicide, but most recognize the crisis is temporary, while death is permanent. The danger increases when one feels a complete loss of control. These negative thoughts regularly accompany feelings of powerlessness:

• Cannot stop the pain
• Cannot think clearly
• Cannot make decisions
• Cannot see any way out
• Cannot eat or work
• Cannot get out of depression
• Cannot make the sadness go away
• Cannot see a future without pain
• Cannot see themselves as worthwhile
• Cannot get someone's attention
• Cannot seem to get control

If you or someone you know has these thoughts, get help.

How can you help someone who is threatening suicide?

• Be direct. Talk openly to him/her about suicide
• Be willing to listen and accept the feelings
• Be non-judgmental, don't lecture or debate
• Show interest and support, be available
• Never dare him or her to do it
• Do not act shocked
• Do not be sworn to secrecy
• Offer hope and alternatives, explore other options
• Take action, remove weapons, remove stockpiled medications

If someone threatens to hurt or kill him/herself, you or someone else; if someone is looking for ways to kill him/herself or others; or if someone is talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, get help immediately. The individual is likely to minimize the import of their statements.

Where can you get help? If there is a life threatening emergency, do not hesitate to call 911. Soundside Wellness Consultants may be contacted at 850-226-8585 in Fort Walton Beach or in Crestview at 850-689-7844. Offices are conveniently located at 205 Shell Avenue, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 and 351 N. Ferdon Boulevard, Crestview, FL 32536. Most appointments may be scheduled within one business day.

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