At Serve Denton, we have multiple partner nonprofits that work with those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts. One of those partners is RecoveryResource Council. One of their specific services is offering free counseling to veterans. We reached out to Casey Gutierrez, MEd, LPC Assistant Director of Veterans/Mental Health Services to ask him some frequently asked questions regarding suicide and how to help those who are struggling with it.
Are people with mental health conditions the only ones affected by suicide?
This is not the case when it comes to suicide. Individuals without mental health conditions can very much be affected by suicide. Life stress, relationship issues, financial issues, death of a loved one, illnesses, abuse, rejection, evictions, trauma, etc. can all contribute to suicide thoughts or attempts.
Do most people who commit suicide act suddenly and without warning?
Actually, most suicides are preceded by verbal or behavior warnings. Suicidal individuals may only show warning signs to those closest to them, but these warning signs often go unnoticed. Therefore, friends and family may interpret the suicide as being sudden or without warning. Learning the warning signs associated with suicide can save lives.
Is it dangerous to talk about suicide to someone who is depressed or thinking about suicide?
People often have the misconception that mentioning suicide can lead a vulnerable individual to commit suicide. It is just the opposite. Talking about it can save lives. Those struggling with suicidal thoughts often want to make a connection and may even feel relieved someone is willing to listen. Once people feel heard, it is important to suggest they seek help. People are often afraid to speak about suicide, but talking about it helps lower the stigma, raises awareness, and may lead folks who are struggling to seek help.
The Recovery Resource Council (RRC) is a proud partner of Serve Denton and the many agencies under its roof. RRC’s Enduring Families program provides free psychotherapy to veterans and their family members. It is a reality that some of our clients struggle with thoughts of suicide and it is a crucial part our job to care for the people we serve and to keep their safety as our number one priority. A good and easy outline to follow when it comes to helping folks struggling with suicide is listed below.
The ACE acronym is used for suicide prevention by the veteran affairs health care community.
A – Ask the Veteran (or family member)
Ask the question:
Are you thinking about killing yourself?
Do you think you may try to hurt yourself?
C – Care for the Veteran (or family member)
Remove any means that could be used for self-injury
Stay calm and safe
Actively listen to show understanding and produce relief
E – Escort the Veteran (or family member)
Never leave the Veteran (or family member) alone
Escort to emergency room or medical clinic
Call Veterans Crisis Line (or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)
1-800-273-8255 This number is for both services. If you are a Veteran, press “1.”