September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month

Florida Guard Family:

September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, and serves to remind everyone in our military community to watch out for each other.  We have lost members of our Florida Guard Team to suicide in the past, and in almost every situation, the individuals exhibited signs that something was wrong – signs that may have helped others prevent these tragedies.

Personal and relationship issues, legal and financial worries and job-related stress are all contributing factors linked to suicide. Take the opportunity this month to educate yourself and others with helpful facts regarding suicide prevention.  One of the best ways to prevent suicide is through early detection and intervention.  Make yourself aware of the warning signs, and be prepared to appropriately respond.   The Defense Suicide Prevention Office is an outstanding resource for information.  Their website, http://www.suicideoutreach.org, provides well-researched and useful information on warning signs and intervention strategies.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger or exhibit warning signs, don’t hesitate to call the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) or Text 838255.  This service is confidential and available 24/7.

For local support, both the Florida Army and Air National Guard (FLARNG) also have professionals standing-by to assist 24/7.   The FLARNG has two Directors of Psychological Health (DPH) who can be contacted in a confidential manner for assistance in getting connected with free behavioral health support:  Michael McFarland, LMFT (Michael.w.mcfarland19.ctr@mail.mil, 904-315-4491) or Susan Knight, LCSW (Susan.k.knight5mil@mail.mil, 904-495-5820).  Florida Air National Guard members can contact Renate Donghia (renate.donghia.ctr@ang.af.mil, 904-741-7006).

I urge you to take time this month to potentially save someone’s life.

Emmett R. Titshaw Jr.
Major General
The Adjutant General of Florida