Commander's log: Suicide prevention

  • Published
  • By Brig Gen. David Harris
  • 96th Test Wing commander
As we enter a new year, it is important for us to re-address topics such as suicide prevention and awareness. This world is filled with incidents and accidents that are constant reminders of the importance of suicide awareness and continued suicide prevention efforts. For all of us, there are times when it just seems too much, or we get too tired and fed up, or someone betrays and hurts us to a point of no return. It is at that exact moment we must call upon our inner strength and wingmen to get through.

Many times, people who have thoughts of suicide give us clues and warnings as a cry for help. How do we identify these clues and warning signs? We pay attention and get help when we observe our wingman appearing depressed or sad most of the time, talking or writing about death or suicide, losing interest in most activities, acting recklessly, feeling hopeless, burdensome, worthlessness, exhibiting anger or rage, abusing drugs or alcohol, acting impulsively, and reclusiveness to name a few. When getting help we should support our wingman throughout the process. It is important to surround yourself with a support system to include family, friends, and coworkers.

Each of us is responsible for creating a culture that encourages help seeking and suicide prevention. We must encourage others and ourselves to request help early on. There are many resources available to assist Airman in getting help for themselves or others.

Resources within our community include: Eglin AFB mental health (850-883-8373), military family life coach (MFLC-850-461-5637), Military OneSource (800-342-9647), Chaplain (850-882-2111), and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), Civilian Employee Assistance Program (850-882-2551 Mon-Wed; 800-262-7848;  We start by asking questions and after asking questions we get help. Reach out and when you do, know that one day, someone may be reaching out to you.