When we assume responsibility for our actions, we attempt to control the outcome rather than just
letting things happen. Soldiers have a responsibility to themselves, their unit and their peers to exercise
responsive initiative when any danger signals relating to suicide are observed.
Responsibility as an attitude.
Certain viewpoints towards people and places are projected as attitudes. By trying to develop an
increased awareness of others and striving to be less selfish, it is possible to develop an attitude which
fosters concern about the people around us. We are more likely to respond to destructive symptoms in
others if we are not always thinking about ourselves.
Responsibility as an action.
Although actions will vary depending on the particular situation you are faced with as a chaplain
assistant, the following suggestions are provided to explain the kind of actions often required in dealing
with a person who has demonstrated an inclination toward suicide:
Threats should be taken seriously. Remember, statistics indicate that 80 percent of
suicides are preceded by some warning sign.
Heed a cry for help. Give support to the hurting person by showing interest, giving time,
or a helping hand, as appropriate.
Give a person in pain the opportunity to discuss his or her problems and consider
reasonable alternatives for resolution.
Verbally express your care and reinforce the message of concern, "you're really feeling
isolated aren't you?"
Encourage the hurting person to get help from any one of the several helping agencies available on his
or her installation. Since many problems seem to surface at times other than duty hours, the chaplain or
hospital emergency room, or some similar agency, are important referral possibilities that everyone
should know about and are places to take a person. Be sure to not leave a potentially suicidal person
People who consider suicide as a viable option usually have given up the possibility of being successful,
both personally and professionally.
Encouragement means growth.
It is often possible to influence a person who feels hopeless by providing meaningful encouragement.
Encouragement can mean the difference between giving up and renewed determination toward life.