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You Can Be Part of the Solution

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The public is shocked at the suicide rates amongst our service members, veterans, and law-enforcement population. We hear about it all the time through the many active and working organizations attempting to impact reported numbers positively. As a community, we can support these efforts through donations, but what is another way that we can become part of the solution?

The Veteran Health and Wellness segment of FireWatch Magazine is shifting gears for this January edition with a focus on what we can do as a community to honor and support the military and first responder communities.

Dr. Derrick “TC” Copper found himself in an emotional dilemma. A Navy veteran, TC had provided behavioral health services to the Department of Defense, U.S. Army, and Army Substance Abuse Program for 35 years.

In each of these assignments, TC was deeply involved in suicide prevention education efforts. During his tenure with the U.S. Army, he became a certified LivingWorks ASIST trainer.

When his retirement finally arrived, he admits, “I was done. I had worked in the behavioral health field for so long, I just needed to get away and focus on something else.”

That was, until one day, TC saw a news report of a young person who had taken their own life at a local park. He felt anger and could not understand how this young person’s family, teachers, and friends had not recognized the signs.

“I heard God speak to me,” he said, recalling his struggle with that young person’s story, “God said that I could be part of the problem or part of the solution.”

It became clear to TC that he needed to do something with the knowledge and experience he had earned over his career. He realized his commitment to suicide prevention education remained paramount, resulting in the establishment of the Suicide Prevention Training Institute, a Florida not-for-profit organization.

What Can I Do?

There was an experiment on social media recently. A middle-aged man was walking along a bridge in a busy city. He was rolling an old, battered suitcase alongside him. The area he was walking was a tourist site, and many people were there on the bridge. The man was suddenly distressed, grabbing at his heart and falling to the ground, where he remained sobbing, afraid, and obviously needing help. For many moments, the crowd continued to walk past him. Some turned and looked back, but they did not stop.

Finally, a man and woman walked past. The woman turned around to look at the man. She let go of her partner’s hand and approached the man on the ground. Her partner followed. It was only then that others began to stop also.

            Why did it take so long for anyone to help? Why, once one person stopped, was it a green light for others to stop as well?

It turned out that the man was okay. He was experimenting to show that many people don’t respond to someone in distress. They want to avoid getting involved.

It doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad people. Out of fear, people don’t want to do the wrong thing, and in that split second, they believe they aren’t good enough to help. Someone better suited will come along.

How to React

Regarding suicide awareness and prevention, Dr. Copper explains, “You don’t have to be anything but the person who keeps them alive right now. If you learn to recognize a sign, you can make a difference, even for that moment.”

You can’t assume someone else will help or reach out when someone is at risk. But how do you even know if someone is at risk? There are documented warning signs, but how would we know what they are? What would we say most importantly, and how would we react to someone we may not know?

Moral Obligation

As important as it is to know CPR or basic first aid, we should also know how to prevent suicide from impacting even more community members. Through education, we can learn to identify the risk factors for suicide and equip ourselves with effective intervention skills.

The Suicide Prevention Training Institute (SPTI) is educating to save lives. With Dr. Copper at the helm to share his vast experience and authority to provide the LivingWorks ASIST training program, you too can become part of the solution.

Next Steps
  1. Attend a LivingWorks ASIST™ Workshop.

You can participate in the training by attending or hosting an event. Training cost is dependent upon the number of participants. The workshop is a two-day investment with priceless results.

  • Earn Continuing Education Credits.

LivingWorks has partnered with CEUnits® to offer continuing education (CEU) credits for ASIST™ participation.

  • Help spread the word about our Moral Obligation as citizens to become knowledgeable and aware of suicide prevention. You can help by encouraging your employer to provide an opportunity to attend the training.

For more information, upcoming workshops, and to schedule an event, visit, https://qrco.de/beSAfs

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