by LaShanta Petroski-Ackley, L.I.C.S.W., Marilyn Lash, M.S.W., Maureen K. O'Connor, Psy.D., ABPP-CN
Suicide among veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is preventable. Many service members are having difficulty adjusting as they return to duty, come home, rejoin their families, go back to work, and resume their lives. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and chronic pain increase the risks of suicide. This tip card for veterans and family members describes the warning signs of suicide, identifies the risks among service members, and discusses how and when to find help to prevent suicide.
As service members and veterans return from long and repeated deployments, many struggle with depression along with the consequences of traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. Others have chronic pain from injuries, amputations, and physical injuries. Some have experienced sexual trauma.
This tip card helps service members, veterans, and their families know the warning signs of an increased risk for suicide. It provides a questionnaire to help veterans and service members recognise the need to seek professional help to deal with suicidal thoughts. It is crucial for veterans who have thoughts of death, self-harm, or suicide to seek treatment. There are resources listed designed specifically for veterans and suicide prevention.