Captain Wines (IronFiremen.com) and I have skirted the issue of suicide in the past. This was because the thought was fresh in our minds due to a brother committing suicide. The reason why we didn’t bring it up when our Brothers died is because we didn’t want that to be the lasting memory…that they had taken their own life. We wanted them to be remembered for other reasons.
However, I have finally sat down to write a simple post about suicide and offer some links for those who seek them. Whether you are looking for yourself, or for that of a friend or family member, please utilize these links and information. I am certain there is plenty more information out there, I am simply some of the information that might offer some help.
- A Brother from my own department, who also lived right behind me, took his own life.
- A Brother from SC took his own life…I went to high school with him.
- A Brother I met via FireCritic.com and later got to know him better in person took his own life.
There are many other cases of suicide in our line of work, EMS, and Police. We have stressful jobs. We see things that most people can’t handle and yet sometimes we need help ourselves.
Nobody wants to talk about it…no one wants to admit that it happens. It is taboo…Because nobody knows what to say, or how to say it…
In no way am I an authority on this subject. As I write this article and find the links and information, I will be learning myself. I am simply using this forum to offer information for those of you who might need it, or need to offer it to a friend.
We should all take the time to check out the web sites and articles below so that we can better understand and potentially be able to acknowledge someone in need of help.
National Suicide Hotline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
The web site is here
- Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance
- Grieving Beyond the Badge
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline
- FirefighterCloseCalls.com – Gary Ludwig writes about Suicide among Firefighters and Paramedics
- Fire Chief – Not Without Warning
- Chicago experiences 7 suicides in an 18 month period
- FireRescue1.com – Quantifying Firefighter Suicides
- Phoenix experiences 4 suicides in 7 months
If you think you might be at risk for harming yourself, click on this link for a questionnaire. Answer the questions and follow the directions at the bottom.
When You Should Call
If someone you know has any of the following warning signs we encourage you to call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) so that you can find out what resources are available in your area. Your call is routed to the Lifeline center closest to your area code. The local crisis center may have resources such as counseling or in-patient treatment centers for your friend or family member. Most importantly, please encourage them to call the Lifeline.
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
- Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Talking about being a burden to others.
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
How To Be Helpful to Someone Who Is Threatening Suicide
- Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
- Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
- Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
- Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
- Don’t dare him or her to do it.
- Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
- Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
- Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
- Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
- Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.