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Preventing Suicide in the Military:
From War to Healing Treatment

What are the warning signs that someone may commit suicide? Know what to look for when it comes to symptoms of military suicide and learn about spiritual hope in the face of suicide.

In 2012, 349 American soldiers killed themselves. That number far outpaced the number of combat-related deaths. Suicide truly is the "enemy from within" when it comes to the US military. But what can you do to prevent suicide among the soldiers in your life? Start by understanding the warning signs associated with someone who is contemplating suicide.

Whether you're on the front lines or you're on the home front, educate yourself on these recognizable warning signs of suicidal behavior.

So What are the Symptoms of Suicide Risk in Soldiers?
There are a handful of recognizable symptoms that usually accompany suicide risk, whether in soldiers or civilians. Watch the soldiers close to you for the following emotional and physical conditions:

  • Hopelessness: “I can’t see this ever getting any better.”
  • Helplessness: “I can’t do anything about this situation.”
  • Inability to find happiness in the things they once enjoyed
  • Irritability or flashes of anger
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in appetite
  • Distance from family or loved ones: “Maybe you would be better off without me.”

Warning Signs that Require Immediate Action:

Experts also spell out a few key warning signs that require someone to seek immediate help for suicide risk. If these symptoms are present, you cannot afford to wait for the symptoms to fade. Seek help fast.

  • Is your loved one making plans to take her/his life?
  • Is your loved one planning for death by putting personal affairs in order?
  • Is your loved one giving away personal possessions?
  • Has your loved one been obsessing about death lately?
  • Has your loved one been heavily using drugs or alcohol recently?

Where Can You Turn for Hope?

If you read through these steps and realize that you're really in need of help and someone to talk to, check out the link here. Now. There is reason for hope-- your life is worth much more than you know. And there are people who want to help you get to a better place. 

For Immediate Help, Click Here

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You've probably heard that before, but it bears repeating. Yes, it can take a little work to rediscover purpose and meaning in our lives. But the prize is worth the work. Keep fighting, friend. Know that you're not alone.

The Bible and Comfort for Soldiers

The Bible is full of reminders about how followers of God never go alone. One book of the Bible, Psalms, is especially relevant for soldiers. See, the author of this collection of poems was a fierce warrior and brave king, constantly under attack from people who sought to destroy him. Look at how that king, King David, describes God's protection in battle:

I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.

What does that mean for soldiers battling suicide? That God wants to protect you from the enemy of suicide, and He is fighting on your side. Just as this reminder encouraged and strengthened David to do his job in spite of the enemy, let it encourage you. If God is for you, who can be against you?

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