Suicide Prevention Begins with Recognizing the Signs

  • Published
  • By Amy Kemp-Wellmeier
  • 908th Airlift Wing

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Suicide prevention begins with recognizing the signs

Knowing what to be aware of is one of the first steps in helping to prevent suicides.  Below are some of the common signs often experienced or witnessed by others :

Talking about suicide – Any talk about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as “I wish I hadn’t been born,” “If I see you again…” and “I’d be better off dead.”

Seeking out lethal means – Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.

Preoccupation with death – Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence. Writing poems or stories about death.

No hope for the future – Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped (“There’s no way out”). Belief that things will never get better or change.

Self-loathing, self-hatred – Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden (“Everyone would be better off without me”).

Getting affairs in order – Making out a will. Giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family members.

Saying goodbye – Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.

Withdrawing from others – Withdrawing from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone.

Self-destructive behavior – Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a “death wish.”

Sudden sense of calm – A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to attempt suicide.

If you have noticed any of the above signs in yourself or in your fellow Airman, support is readily available at any of the resource listed below.  You can call or stop by any of the 908th Support Service Providers for more information or to discuss any concerns you may have.


-Amy Kemp, (908th Director of Psychological Health)                334-953-5980 or 334-782-9809

-908th Chaplin (TR)                                                                     334-953-5372

-Airman and Family Readiness                                                   334-953-9018

-Military Family Life Counselor                                                    334-559-0702

-Veterans Crisis Line                                                                   1-800-273-8255

-National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Available 24 hours).        1-800-273-8255