Take 5 to be there, suicide prevention is a life-long process

By: Jody Carman, District 17 Employee Assistance Program Coordinator in Kodiak, Alaska

September marks National Suicide Prevention Awareness month and it’s a time for people to remember that prevention is a life-long process and being there for others is a form of self-care.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, for Alaskans, suicide is second leading cause of death for ages 15-44, and Alaska is the second leading state for number of deaths by suicide.

Due to those high statistics, not only Coast Guardsmen who live in Alaska, but everyone has to pay particular attention to co-workers, friends, and family members who surround them.

There are five steps you can take to help someone in need.

Step 1: Learn the signs
There are some simple things you can do to learn the warning signs of suicide. It might not be obvious when someone is contemplating suicide, so if you know what to look for, then you can help that person. When you can recognize those signs, you can take the steps necessary to help save a life.

Step 2: Do your part
Everyone has a role in preventing suicide. It could be as simple as posting information on your social media account or asking the direct question of, “are you thinking about suicide?” Yes, those are difficult questions, but it can help to save a life.

Step 3: Practice self-care
If you make mental illness a priority in your life, then you can not only help yourself, but you can help those around you. Some ways to practice self-care are address emotional pain, maintain your self-esteem, and avoid repetitive negative thoughts. Also, living in Alaska, it’s important to get Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, eat healthy and exercise. When you make time for friends and family and encourage self-care with them, then everyone can have a positive mental attitude.

Step 4: Reach out
There may come a time when you need to further assist your friend in seeking professional help. Offer to help your friend in locating options for professional help and offer to accompany him to the appointments. If there is immediate concern, call 911. For additional guidance and support, call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk with a trained helper.

Step 5: Spread the word
One easy way to help others is to share information through social media networks. If you see something online that concerns you, you can do something by reaching out. It’s as easy as posting a phone number or a website to your profile page or to someone else’s page. That small amount of effort could be the one thing that saves that person’s life.

These five steps could prevent you or someone you know from committing suicide.

To contact your District 17 Suicide Prevention Program specialists, call Jody Carman at 907-942-0466, Chaplain Brenton Asbury at 907-654-0077 or Chaplain David Alexander at 907-463-2038.

For more information about suicide prevention:

In a crisis call 1-800-273-8255 or text “Home” to 741-741.

Take 5 to Save Lives

American Association of Suicidology www.suicidology.org

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention www.afsp.org

Suicide Prevention Resource Center www.sprc.org Indian Health Service www.ihs.gov/NonMedicalPrograms/nspn

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Suicide Prevention Section www.samhsa.gov/prevention/suicide.aspx

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention www.actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org

To find state and local resources in the USA, use the SPRC’s map locator:


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