The holidays can be a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends. They can also be a time of increased stress. The COVID-19 pandemic has added further stressors to our lives, like social distancing and financial concerns, which may lead to increased suicide risk. Fortunately, there are many ways to protect yourself against holiday and pandemic stress and many resources for when you need support.
Depression & Suicide
Join the Real Warriors Campaign in sharing resources to help recognize when a warrior may be at risk for depression and what to do when you see warning signs. Start by exploring the articles, materials and videos below.
Depression is a common, treatable, but serious psychological health concern. It can interfere with your daily duties and even increase your risk for other health concerns.
The underlying reasons for depression vary from person to person, but it can affect anyone, anywhere, at any time. It impacts your thoughts, feelings and actions and if left untreated is one of many risk factors for suicide—another grave, but preventable concern.
These two concerns are not always linked, but if you or someone you know is feeling depressed or has thoughts of suicide, it is important to reach out for help right away. In an emergency, call 911 or the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, press 1. If not an emergency, talk to a health care professional as soon as possible for help understanding and treating your symptoms.
Experiencing the death of a friend or loved one is difficult. Whether the death comes without warning or after a lengthy battle with illness, navigating the grieving process can be challenging. However, it can be particularly challenging for those who’ve lost someone to suicide. A suicide death has a ripple effect that can shake a community, especially a tight knit one like the military.
Suicide prevention starts before a service member is in crisis. Line leaders play an important role in shaping the way service members maintain their psychological health – and how they view seeking care for concerns. The tips below can help you create a command environment that promotes connectedness and openness around psychological health challenges. They can also help you recognize when a warrior may be struggling and how to encourage them to get care.
Your social media feed is likely full of a variety of posts. It may include funny memes, entertainment and news stories, and pictures and updates from friends and family. With so much to scroll through, it can be difficult to spot a concerning post made by a fellow warrior, friend or family member when they may be thinking about suicide.
Learn how to recognize the warning signs of suicide on social media and what you can do to help. Recognizing the signs and taking the right steps can save lives.
Traumatic events related to combat or deployments can occur during your military service. These experiences may cause stress reactions that can negatively impact your psychological health. However, it is important to remember that you and your family can face similar experiences following a natural or human-made disaster.
Reaching out for care for your psychological health is an important, positive step in your military career. When seeking a role that requires a national security clearance, you will be instructed to fill out the Standard Form 86 (SF86), “Questionnaire for National Security Positions.” [PDF 7.6MB] The federal government uses information from this form to conduct background checks and evaluate individuals who are: