Segment 2: Veterans and suicide

JENNIE Show Episode 8

Lisa Gerardot is the Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta.

AUGUSTA, Ga.–   National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

I was really impacted recently by a post I saw on Facebook that one of my kids had shared. Now, it’s social media–  we assume it’s true, but I’m not sharing it as a news story that I have verified. I am sharing it because the message sparked a huge list of comments, very supportive- apologetic- and compassionate.

“I’d been so busy in Afghanistan, there was always a job to do. But now it was quiet. So I thought about all the things that I’d kept at bay:  I thought about the little girl that I saved and I wondered if she’s still alive…  And if she is still alive, does she even want to be?”

Veterans experience periods of readjustment as they reintegrate into civilian life. training needed to survive in a war zone – like maintaining constant alertness – might contribute to troubling behaviors back at home, like feeling edgy and being easily startled.

Combat veterans might experience nightmares, sleeplessness, and feelings of abandonment or hopelessness. It can lead to increasing use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs…  just to try to cope.

Nearly one in five veterans returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan experience post-traumatic stress or depression. It’s an epidemic that mental health professionals say has to be stopped, especially with a large active military community and 66,000 veterans in the CSRA. That’s why connecting each person with resources is crucial.

And the person who is connecting people with resources at the Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta is Lisa Gerardot. She is the suicide prevention coordinator there.

Contact Information:

Click here for Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center

Click here for Crisis Prevention  

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

Risk Factors for Suicide:
Over 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another mental disorder. Many times, people who die by suicide have an alcohol or substance abuse problem. Often they have that problem in combination with other mental disorders. Adverse or traumatic life events in combination with other risk factors, such as clinical depression, may lead to suicide.
Other risk factors for suicide include the following:
•One or more prior suicide attempts
•Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse
•Family history of suicide
•Family violence
•Physical or sexual abuse
•Keeping firearms in the home
•Chronic physical illness, including chronic pain
•Incarceration
•Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others
 
 
Warning Signs of Suicide:
•Always talking or thinking about death
•Clinical depression — deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating — that gets worse
•Having a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights
•Losing interest in things one used to care about
•Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
•Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
•Saying things like “it would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want out”
•Sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
•Talking about suicide or killing one’s self
•Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255


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