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The loss of any warrior’s life is a tragedy, whether it’s in combat or in a different type of battle. Although relatively uncommon overall, military suicides have unfortunately increased recently, especially within the Army and Marine Corps.  Every suicide within the armed forces community is ultimately preventable, and even one is too many.

That’s why it’s critical to speak up if you have concerns about a buddy’s psychological wellbeing. Use the information below to learn to recognize when a fellow warrior may be at risk for suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and what to do when you identify a problem.

Warning Signs of Suicide: Identify Those at Risk

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Regardless of your branch of service, you’ve been trained to identify sources of physical danger for yourself and your fellow warriors. But you can also identify psychological danger by asking yourself some questions about your buddy’s behavioral health.

Is someone you know showing these signs for concern?

  • Previous suicide attempt or self-destructive behavior
  • Significant relationship, financial, medical or work-related problems
  • Current or pending disciplinary or legal action
  • Substance misuse
  • Problems with a major life transition (retirement, discharge, divorce, etc.)
  • Loss of a buddy or members of unit
  • Setbacks in military career or personal life
  • Severe, prolonged stress that seems unmanageable
  • Sense of powerlessness, helplessness or hopelessness
  • Behavior that isolates your buddy from friends and family members

Suicidal thoughts are usually associated with problems that can be treated or dealt with, so proactively confronting the problem and seeking treatment is the best way to ensure resilience. If your buddy is showing any of the above signs for concern, don’t hesitate — have the strength to take action.

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