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September: a time for a pause

14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs -- September is suicide prevention month, but the year of 2020 has been filled with pandemics, natural disasters and civil unrest.

Since the last official count in 2017, done by www.cdc.org, suicide has taken the lives of nearly 150,000 lives and is 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

Military leaders have been monitoring the situation closely and have made it a priority to mitigate the problem.

Daisy Jones-Brown, 14th Flying Training Wing suicide prevention program manager, says there are numerous factors and signs of suicidal ideation. The first sign she looks for deals with the person’s relationships.

“I look at things like connection, how they are connected into the community, into their units, their particular jobs,” Jones-Brown said. “I also look at isolation. Do they feel isolated, do they feel plugged in, have their needs met, are they socially okay?”

She says indicators can sometimes be hard to spot, especially if the person naturally has a more reserved personality. Most of the time, the best way to tell if they need help is by paying attention to how they have been acting recently.

Jones-Brown says if a person who is normally very social begins to act quiet, or vice versa, the person may be dealing with some issues.

“That’s why you just have to ask out right,” she said. “Sometimes it’s intuitive, you get a feeling that something’s not right with that person or other times you just know. Even though they may be acting like everything is okay, you may know that they’re going through some things.”

The bottom line is to be sincere and ask if the person is okay, she says.

Maj. Joshua Barry, 14th Medial Group Mental Health flight commander, says it is essential to ask questions and to know the people around you.

“You’ve got to know your people,” Barry said. “Knowing the people around you tells you if they’re just having a bad day, and that’s going to happen, or is it a continuous bad day?

There are multiple mental health and suicide prevention resources offered at Columbus Air Force Base.

“Within the mental health flight, we have family advocacy, counseling services and we have the drug and alcohol program, ADAPT. All three of those are elements within the mental health flight are available toactive duty members.”

For the resources available to everyone, Barry recommends using Family Advocacy, the Military Family Life counselor, the Chaplain Corps, Employee Assistance Program or Military One Source.

No matter where the person starts, they must start somewhere, Barry said.

For more information about suicide prevention and mental health, contact Daisy Jones-Brown at 662-434-1244 or via email at daisy.jones-brown@us.af.mil or contact the Mental Health flight at 662-434-2239.