Before hopelessness takes over, remember there is always help. This September, National Suicide Prevention Month, AFSPA encourages you to support friends or family who may be dealing with an emotional crisis. Here are some tips from Suicide Prevention Lifeline that can help:
Ask – People who have suicidal thoughts feel relief when someone caringly asks how they are. Findings suggest that acknowledging and discussing suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal ideation. A “How can I help?” can go a long way. Also, never promise to keep someone’s thoughts of suicide a secret.
Be There – Individuals are more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to someone who listens without judgement. This could mean being physically present for someone, speaking with them on the phone, or any other way that shows support for the person at risk.
Keep Them Safe – If you’ve determined suicide is being considered, it’s important to find out a few things to establish immediate safety. Have they done anything to try to kill themselves before talking with you? Does the person know how they would kill themselves? Do they have a specific, detailed plan? What’s the timing for their plan? What sort of access do they have to their planned method? When lethal means are made less available, suicide rates decline.
Help Them Stay Connected – Helping someone at risk create a network of resources and individuals for support and safety, can encourage them to take positive action and reduce feelings of hopelessness. See below for some useful resources for those feeling suicidal.
Follow Up – Supportive, ongoing contact with someone who is feeling suicidal is an important part of prevention. This is especially true for individuals who have been discharged from hospitals or care services. Leave a message, send a text, or give them a call.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (available 24 hours a day): 800-273-8255
Resources for Youth and Teens:
How AFSPA Can Help
Members enrolled in the Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FSBP) can enroll in the following programs:
myStrength™ – This program provides you and your covered dependents age 13 and older, evidence-based resources to help overcome depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder while improving overall wellbeing through a personalized, internet-enabled program.
To enroll visit mystrength.com, select “Sign-up,” enter the access code “FSBP” and complete a brief Wellness Assessment and personal profile.
Teladoc® – FSBP members aged 13 years and older (living in the 50 U.S.) can schedule a telehealth visit with a licensed therapist or psychiatrist, 7 days a week. To get started, visit Teladoc.com/aetna.