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Suicide prevention vital to Wingman concept

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- The questions that are often asked regarding suicide prevention include, "What could have been done to prevent this tragedy? Are we really putting the Wingman concept into action? Are we friendly and available whenever fellow co-workers are in distress? Do we know the warning signs of suicide? Do we know how to respond?"

Suicide can often be prevented, but for this to happen, an environment of concern and "buddy care" must be developed so that no one has to go through anything alone. We must create a "web" that extends to every individual and links individuals, supervisors, first sergeants, commanders, the community and medical professionals all in circles of concern. Many suicidal people give warnings of their intentions, but we are often unaware of their significance or do not know how to respond. The following are some of the warning signs and risk factors that may indicate that someone is at risk for suicide:

- Withdrawal from friends, family or social activities
- Marital or relationship problems
- Disciplinary problems
- Hopelessness - "world would be better off without me"
- Trouble concentrating
- Giving away possessions
- Change in sleeping or eating habits
- Having attempted suicide before
- Taking unnecessary risks
- Being preoccupied with death
- Loss of interest in personal appearance
- Abuse of a substance
- Talks about committing suicide
- Loss of image (not looked at the same by family, friends, co-workers due to committing a wrongful act)

Of course this list is not all inclusive. There are many warning signs but it provides guidance on some common things to take notice. If you feel that someone is suicidal, then take action. Don't leave the person alone and get help immediately. During duty hours, contact the Life Skills Clinic. After duty hours, contact the hospital emergency room, 911, command post, first sergeant, security police or local police (if off base).

The bottom line is it begins with YOU!!! You taking the time to get to know the people you work with and being aware of things that are going on in their lives. Taking time out to let people know that you care.

The Life Skills Clinic offers the Suicide Prevention Briefing every Thursday at 0800 and 1500 at the Base Theater. If at anytime you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact the Life Skills Clinic at 722-1883. Be aware and remember Suicide Prevention begins with YOU!
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