Tag Archives: Intervention

005 Suicide & 4 Practical Parts to Becoming Part of the Solution


If you believe someone is considering suicide, is it OK to ask: “Are you thinking about committing suicide?” or other direct questions? This is one of the questions addressed in this episode.

Hopelessness seems to be overtaking an increasing number of people–veterans and civilians alike.  This is showing up in an ever increasing suicide rate.  We will discuss this difficult topic and look at some practical ways of addressing this issue.  There is hope!  We can take action.

Let’s get right into today’s topic: Suicide

– About 12 (to 14) per 100,000 death are from Suicide in the U.S. (CDC report from 2009)

– For the Veteran population it is more than double at 30 per 100,000  http://www.publicintegrity.org/2013/08/30/13292/suicide-rate-veterans-far-exceeds-civilian-population

  •                49,000 Veteran suicides between 2005 and 2011
  •                2012 VA study reports 8030 in the year 2010 (22 per day)
  •                Up from a previous study of 19 per day
  •                Suicide and PTSD

– The BBC reported that British Soldier suicide outpaced combat death in Afghanistan in 2012

               50 suicides (active + veterans) and 40 KIA


  • Increase in the number of suicides from 1999-2010 affects all ages, genders and ethnic groups
  • In U.S. the number 10 leading cause of death among all age group, genders and ethnicities
  • 50 to 59 years old increased by about 49%

The loss from any to suicide is tragic.  However in the U.S. more men than women and more whites than any other ethnic group commit suicide.

White males most affected – Second leading cause of death ages 10-24.  The largest single teen group affected, 19 out of every 100 death, boys (white) ages 15-19.

People from all ethnicities, genders and age groups are increasingly losing hope and increasingly deciding to end their own lives.  Why the increase?  Let us know what you think in the comments section or leave us a voice message.

4 practical arts to become part of the solution…


  •                Attend a seminar or class on suicide intervention such as:
  •                ASIST
  •                SafeTALK

 Some warning signs:

  • Increase/decreased sleep, eating, aggression (sings of depression)
  • Withdrawing for relationships and society
  •  Drug/Alcohol abuse
  • Talking about giving up, ending it all, never returning
  •  Possibly giving away possessions
  • Express a hopeless view of the future
  • Express feelings of worthlessness
  • Significant Loss: Relationship, Job, Identity, Ability

Look: for any of the warring sings (and many others) listed above.  Has your friend, coworker, child, spouse, gone through a major change?  Not every one that is depress or gone through a loss will commit suicide.

Listen: Listen for any warning sings.  Are they talking about death, dying, “going away” or any permanent change that raises any red flag?

Lead then to safety and to help.

  •                Doctor, psychologist, ER, ASIST trained cooworker, police, first responders,…
  •                Don’t ignore or dismiss the sings
  •                Don’t leave them alone
  •                Don’t be afraid to ask the question: “Are you planning/or going to commit suicide?”

In the U.S.






Need help!  This is a list of crisis lines for several countries:


Share your thoughts with us!  Ideas, experiences…  What is your school, community, church, company or organization doing to help people in crisis?

Below is the Mayo Clinic Teen Suicide Prevention video.  It provides practical advice for any age group.

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8,030 people dead!

No, they were not killed by a terrible natural disaster.  They were not killed in tragic accidents.  They were not killed in combat or in the line of duty.  They were veterans that took their own lives!

According to a 2012 Veterans Administration report 22 veterans committed suicide each day.  This is an alarming number of suicides considering the small segment of the population.  This number is almost double that for all U.S. military killed in Iraq, 4,486 (2003-2012).

Active duty service members are also taking their own lives in alarming numbers.  This despite the ever increasing mental health resources deployed and available throughout the services.

U.S. veterans are not only at risk.  According to a BBC report, more British Soldiers took their own lives then were killed in combat in Afghanistan during the same time period.

The CDC reports that the U.S. civilian population suicide rate has steadily increased from 1999-2010.  The greatest increase is in the age range 50-64. (About a 49% increase).

The veteran population has a suicide rate roughly double that of the general population!  For Veterans 30 per 100,000 people; for the civilian population: 14 per 100,000.

There is a lot of speculation as to why the rates are increasing in both the civilian population and veterans.   Some researchers think that the breakdown in community and an increased sense of isolation—yes, even in this electronic age—is contributing to the increase. 

The Huffington post article points out in the 1980-90’s the military had a significantly lower rates in divorce, drug abuse and suicide then the civilian population.  At that time, the report says, military communities were much tighter.

During my service (2002-2010) I saw a significant decline in the social community of the military.  I am sure the war efforts contributed to this decline.  Perhaps people withdrawing and hiding behind technology contributed as well.

This decline in esprit de corps is not the key factor that has led to the alarming increase in suicide among service members, veterans and civilians.  It may play a role or be a symptom.  It is a complex topic that is affecting an increasing number of people.

In the military, most that commit suicide are already receiving care for mental health.  The military and VA have increased access to care significantly over the last decade—but the numbers keep climbing.  They are also climbing in the civilian world. 

There are mixed reports connecting PTSD and suicide.  But there seems to be a general consensus that this is a contributing factor.  In our next podcast we will address this specific issue.

What do you think?

What can we do to start reversing these numbers among civilian, military and veterans?

Join the conversation!

Need help!  This is a list of crisis lines for several countries:


Some other interesting articles and references to fuel the conversation: