September is Suicide Prevention Month
Hope is one call away!
Flags of Honor Escorts
Flag For 22 Highlights Suicide Awareness
The September 22, 2020 launch of Flag For 22 gives voice to the hidden wounds of the 22 US veterans who succumb to suicide each day.
The goal is to save lives.
Image: Founder, David "Mac" McElroy, esscort Flag For 22, September 22, 2020, with William Vaugh, Debbie Logan Knehr, Justy Moudy, Alan Smith, and Roger Barrett,
David "Mac" McElroy talks about his new mission,
Flags of Honor Escorts Flag For 22
We must do better. September 22nd, Flags of Honor Escorts launches FLAG For 22. This flag is named for the 22 US veterans who succumb to silent wounds via suicide each day. The flag launch highlights the need for suicide awareness with the hope of prevention and healing for those whose lives have been touched by suicide.
Act now to show support.
- Connect with a veteran or someone who is currently serving.
- Post pictures of images of the number 22, such as the traffic sign to the right.
- Follow Flag For 22 by joining the Flags of Honor Escort Facebook group.
Wonder, Humor, & Other Antidotes to Misery
Mindsets and Actions
You can create your happiness and success. Explore mindsets and strategies that foster satisfaction, productivity, and creativity.
- Learn to use misery to invite clarity and energize positive action
- Explore humor and play as stress-reduction strategies
- Understand barriers to mindfulness
- Practice setting limits with yourself and others
- Cultivate a culture of wonder
What to do NOW
Keep them Safe
- reach out, ask if they are thinking of killing themselves
- listen without judgment
- stay with them, or make sure someone is there at all times, until you can get them to help
- remove access to weapons, drugs, or other lethal means
- encourage exercise and relaxation methods such as yoga, prayer, stretching, music
- get help
- call suicide lifelines such as 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)
- call 911
- go to the emergency room or mental health care provider
- call a chaplain, when in doubt, chaplains are 100% confidential, resourceful, and well-trained professionals
What NOT to do
- don't avoid reaching out
- don't judge, don't scold, don't dare
- don't ignore
- don't agree to secrecy—seek help
- don't spend too much time with the stress of the news or social media
- don't drink too much
Warning Signs and Risk Factors
- talks or writes or vlogs about suicide, death, or ways to die
- threatens to self-harm or suicide
- stockpiles or tries to get guns, pills, or other lethal means for suicide
- the sudden or dramatic change in mood or behavior, such as recklessness, risk-taking behavior, change in sleeping and eating habits
- feeling hopeless, helplessness, or trapped
- says there's no reason to live or no way out
- gives cherished possessions away, writes a will, makes arrangments for a pet
- unusual spending or giving
- social withdrawal
- intense rage or desire for revenge
- anxiety, depression, or agitation
- increased use of alcohol and other drugs
Psychological Risk Factors
- childhood abuse, family violence, or trauma
- mental health problems in the family
- prior suicide attempt
- impulsive, aggressive
- heavy drinking or other drug use
- severe or prolonged stress or combat-related psychological injury
- overwhelming grief from a loss such as death, divorce, disabling injury...
Cultural Risk Factors
- repeated and prolonged deployments
- frequent moves
- live in areas with limited access to health care
- shame-based sense of honor
- stigma regarding mental health support
Suicide Statistics Tell a Story of Hope
"Small Steps Save Lives"
There is hope!
According to the Defense Suicide Prevention Office, "Small Steps Save Lives." Being there and being alert can often avert a suicide crisis.
- a suicide crisis is often brief in duration
- suicidal behavior can be impulsive and quick, less than 10 minutes from thought to action
- 90% who attempt suicide and survive do not attempt suicide again
- 65% of military suicides involve a firearm
- keeping guns and bullets locked reduces impulsive use of a firearm for self-harm
- being there helps
US Military Suicide Statistics
- every day 22 veterans succumb to suicide
- Life Circumstances Risk Factors
- limited support from relationships or family, loss of or problem in a close relationship
- young, unmarried males of low rank are most at risk
- access to lethal means such as guns, car or motorcycle, alcohol, and other drugs
- a recent return from deployment, especially with health problems
- lack of advancement, a career setback, disciplinary action, or loss of a job
- financial problems
- a sense of loss of honor, regret, shame, betrayal
- suicides within the family or community
- stigma regarding mental health support
Global Suicide Statistics
from the World Health Organization
- every 40 seconds, someone succumbs to suicide, this is 800,000 each year
- for each suicide, 20 more attempt suicide
- suicide is the world's second leading cause of death for 15-29-year-olds
Help is one click or call away!
- US National Suicide Prevention lifeline & Military Crisis Line
A trained mental health professional is one call or one click away
free for active duty, reserve and guard members—and their families and friends
- International Crisis Centre resources
- International Suicide Hotlines
- World Health Organization resources
- Defense Suicide Prevention Office
- Defense Suicide Prevention Office, #BeThere
- Risks and Warning Signs
- Talking About Suicide Online
- 8 Positive Coping Strategies to Combat Rough Situations
- Postvention Toolkit for a Military Suicide Loss
- Physical Distancing and Social Connection
- Points for Social Media Suicide Coverage
- Small Steps Save Lives
- When a Service Member May Be at Risk for Suicide
- DOD Report on Suicide Among Troops and Military Family Members