In the life of a service member, family support is crucial. The loved ones at home who offer comfort and encouragement in the midst of a sometimes chaotic military experience are vital to a service member’s well-being. But there’s another family in the life of a service member that is intimately acquainted with the rigors associated with military service.
The military family is the one in which comrades stand shoulder-to-shoulder in operations and combat. It is the family that shares up-close-and-personal daily challenges and it’s also the one that strives to honor the mantra to never leave a fallen service member.
Hope is always antithetical to despair. And as our brother’s keeper, recognizing the indicators that may signal trouble for a fellow service member can literally mean the difference between life and death.
The Centers for Disease Control has published a list of risk factors which will help service members recognize potential signs of danger.
• Family history of suicide
• Previous suicide attempt(s)
• History of alcohol and substance abuse
• Feelings of hopelessness
• Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
• Cultural and religious beliefs (e.g., belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma)
• Isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other people
• Loss (relational, social, work, or financial)
• Unwillingness to seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health and substance abuse disorders or to suicidal thoughts
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