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News | March 1, 2017

It only takes one person to make a difference

By Airman 1st Class Tristan Biese 633rd Air Base Wiong Public Affairs

Suicide is not a topic that is easily discussed in everyday conversation. Meaning, loved ones often have no clue that their family member or friend is contemplating or struggling with the idea of suicide. However there are signs and risk factors, early on, which can be recognized to better help an individual who may be having suicidal thoughts.

According to U.S. Air Force Maj. Kieran Dhillon, 633rd Medical Operation Squadron director of psychological health, a large part of suicide prevention in the military is ensuring those at risk feel as though they belong and are valued in the different roles in their life. That means talking with and making sure an at-risk individual knows his or her peers care and are willing to help.

“In the military we can have that conversation and talk about how we can all work together to provide a very supportive network for military members,” said Dhillon

According to Dhillon, the three most common causes of suicidal tendencies in the military are, relationships, work and financial issues.

To be better aware here are some signs to look for:

- Often expressing sadness
- Sleeping all the time, or having trouble sleeping
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Expressing feelings of guilt, shame or failure
- Dramatic and frequent mood changes
- Anxiety and agitation
- Deteriorating physical appearances and neglect of personal welfare
- Acting recklessly
- Losing interest in hobbies; loss of appetite
- Performing poorly at work or school
- Giving away prized possessions
- Desperation, feeling like there’s no way out or no solution to the problem
- Trying to secure weapons, pills or other things that can be used for harm

While suicide is an uncomfortable topic for some, if the signs are there do not be discouraged to find someone to talk to, or point someone in the right direction to get the help they need.

“Never worry alone, whether it’s professional or something personal going on in your life, always reach out to somebody,” said Dhillon. “Somebody is always available to talk and provide support.”

According to U.S Air Force Chaplin (Col.) David Terrinoni, 633rd Air Base Wing joint base senior chaplain, the chaplain’s office is there for anyone who needs support or wishes to talk to someone.

“The biggest thing we have to offer people is safety and security,” said Terrinoni. “We’re not judging and we’re not looking to hurt anybody. We’re the only organization on this installation that has total complete confidentiality.”

Individuals can always revert to the basics, ask your wingman, care for you wingman and escort your wingman, also known as ACE, the moto for the Air Force Suicide Prevention Program.

For more information on how to support military members and veterans in need of help, visit or For those who need help and wish to speak with a representative may dial 1-800-273-TALK or 757-627-LIFE.

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