What are suicide red flags for veterans?

A self-check quiz is available

Veterans commit suicide at higher rates than the general population, but experts say that the warning signs are similar for both groups.

“Many veterans may not show any signs of intent to harm themselves before doing so, but some actions can be a sign that a person needs help,” according to the Veterans Crisis Line, a free, confidential resource to assist veterans. “Veterans in crisis may show behaviors that indicate a risk of self-harm.”

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The risk factors do not always mean someone is considering suicide. But there are some that require immediate attention, according to the Veterans Crisis Line.

Those include:

  • Considering or researching ways to hurt or kill yourself
  • Talking about death, dying, or suicide
  • Self-destructive behavior such as activities involving drug abuse or weapons

Some other warning signs include:

  • Frequently sad or depressed
  • Hopelessness and feeling there is no way out
  • Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness or mood swings
  • Feeling as if there is no reason to live
  • Feeling excessive guilt, shame or sense of failure
  • Rage or anger
  • Engaging in risky activities without thinking
  • Losing interest in hobbies, work or school
  • Increasing alcohol or drug misuse
  • Neglecting personal welfare and appearance
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Showing violent behavior
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Getting affairs in order or writing a will

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

You can take a confidential Veterans Self-check Quiz to learn if stress and depression may be affecting you. The quiz was created by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

There are resources available to help people who are in crisis or struggling with thoughts of suicide. Those include:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255
  • Veterans Crisis Line - 1-800-273-8255 Press 1 or Text 838255 https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/
  • Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center Suicide Prevention Team 937-268-6511 Ext. 2675
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