Be there, be aware: Help prevent suicide

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FALLS CHURCH, Va. — When we focus on our health, it’s easy to pay attention to physical health versus mental well-being. Ignoring mental health concerns like anxiety and depression can lead to worsening symptoms and more serious issues. For some people, these issues may include an increased risk of suicide.

Everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention. Whether you’re a friend, family member or the person in crisis, learn how to recognize the signs of a mental health crisis. After this recognition, it is important to act quickly to stop the escalation of the crisis.

“Many resources are available to help you or those suffering through difficult times,” said Dr. Patricia Moseley, a senior policy analyst for Military Child and Family Behavioral Health at the Defense Health Agency. “TRICARE offers robust mental health services, including newly expanded outpatient and inpatient care and a continuum of care.”

When to seek help

Although everyone feels ups and downs in life, sometimes we need help to get through challenging times. Signs that you may need to see a mental health provider include:

• Anxiety or agitation

• Anger or rage

• Hopelessness

• Difficulty sleeping

• Thoughts or feelings about death or dying

• Increased alcohol or drug use

• Withdrawing from friends and family

If you or a loved one is thinking or talking about death, suicide or other self-destructive behavior, seek immediate care. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. You never need prior authorization to get emergency help.

Also, you don’t need a referral or prior authorization for most outpatient mental health and substance use disorder care. This includes therapy and counseling. More information on mental health care is available on the TRICARE website.

Additional resources

There are a number of other resources available to beneficiaries. The Military Crisis Line provides confidential help 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 (option 1). In addition, #BeThere is a Department of Defense campaign with a peer support call and outreach center (1-844-357-7337) for Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve members and families. The phone line is staffed with peers – veterans who understand the military community because they’ve been there.

Part of “being there” for one another is realizing that everyday connections play a big role in preventing suicide. We can all prevent suicide. Take command of your health by paying attention to your mental health, which is essential to your overall health. Strive for mental and physical wellness.

Learn more about how your TRICARE coverage can help support your mind and body. To learn more about suicide prevention, view the TRICARE monthly tips. Return each month for new monthly tips on a variety of topics.

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