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Suicide prevention more than a month-long campaign

PHOENIX -- September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month but this is an issue that we need to be aware of every day whether there is an official time of emphasis or not. 

If each one of us is being a good wingman for our fellow Guard members we will be watching to see if those around us are showing any signs of depression or a deep sadness that controls their personality and thoughts.

My previous two commentaries dealt with managing stress and knowing your limits regarding the use of alcohol, both of which, in excess, can be contributing factors that lead to suicide.  As a chaplain I have given briefs on suicide prevention, counseled those with suicidal ideations and seen the struggles of those left behind after a suicide.

There is no happiness associated with the topic of suicide and its effects.  The only joy comes when those who have struggled with this mindset begin living with hope. People can achieve a healthy mental outlook when they have love and support from those who care about them. Let's look out for each other and show genuine concern for those around us.

Life does come with its struggles, and our outlook on life affects the way that we deal with those struggles. A myriad of factors can influence the way that we approach the difficult times in life.  If you are struggling, you do not need to go through your troubles alone, but you do have to ask for help. 

Former Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel said, "Asking for help when you need it takes courage and strength."  Your courage to reach out is as simple as a conversation with a co-worker or a call to the numbers below.

National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
Chaplains Office: (602) 302-9078
DPH Office: (602) 302-9424

Visit http://www.wingmantoolkit.org/ for useful resources.