Posted: Sep 21, 2013 3:07 PM by Lindsey Gordon - Helena
Updated: Sep 21, 2013 3:39 PM
HELENA - September is Suicide Prevention Month, and the Montana National Guard is addresing the issues by talking about how prevention is the key.
Reporter Alex Clark took a look at why members of the military are more prone to suicide than civilians.
Suicide has been a taboo topic for years, and the VA hospital is working to change that with officials saying that it should not be something people are scared to talk about.
"Montana also has the highest rate of veterans per capita of any state in the United States. Veterans are twice as at risk for suicide as non-veterans," pointed out Kellie LaFave, the suicide prevention coordinator at the VA hospital.
Soldiers are at higher risk for suicide because of their exposure to combat situations, isolation from their families, and their intense training. This can lead to anxiety, chronic pain and sleep deprivation. All of these factors can lead to suicide.
"We have had our struggle here at the Montana National Guard, with suicide. And, one is too many, and that is really the message that we put out to our membership. Because one suicide is just too many so we all need to what we can," Montana National Guard spokesman Major Tim Crowe said.
Both Crowe and VA hospital staffers say that prevention is key adding that asking what is wrong and paying attention to the people around you, is what can make the difference. Some signs of suicide can be anger, isolating themselves from friends and family and depression.
"There is no perfect CSI profile for someone that can become suicidal. Because, quite frankly we can all become that person. What is most important - what is critical - is that people recognize signs and symptoms," LaFave explained.
"To see the signs, to act quickly and than to assist those members that are having suicidal thoughts," Crowe added.
National Suicide Prevention Week on Facebook
24-hour Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK