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Ask for Help
It’s a message so simple that even a 7-year old understands it.
“Ask for help!!!” wrote little John Murray on Post-it notes. It’s a simple message, but also an extraordinarily profound one when you realize whom it is intended for. The 7-year-old is trying to help suicidal soldiers.
His mission began after coming across a word on a military poster he did not know. Asking his mom Ingrid what it was, she reluctantly explained it was “suicide” and it meant “when someone ends their own life.”
Little John is wise beyond his years.
“When they don’t have any broken arms or legs, and no blood, you can’t see the sadness inside them,” the boy explained. A letter from his mother about John landed on the desk of Army Surgeon General Patricia Horoho, who called his quest “a lesson for us all” and put the Post-it note story on the Army’s website.
In fact, the message was so simple that even the Army’s Surgeon General shared his message on the Army official homepage.
Suicide is a challenging topic to discuss even with a mature audience; let alone with an intellectually curious and compassionate child. The silence can be deafening and it reinforces a cultural message that says, “suicide is a deep, dark, unspoken topic”. In the absence of open dialogue- myths prevail and inappropriate judgments are made. Championing the discussion in the manner the Murray Family did is a lesson for all of us. It is my expressed wish that all military Families engage in this important discussion and possess the wisdom of John Jr.
Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained consultants are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and can be contacted by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by visiting their website at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in newly revised Army Regulation 600-63 (Health Promotion) at: http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r600_63.pdf and Army Pamphlet 600-24 (Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention) at http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/p600_24.pdf.
The Army’s comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at http://www.preventsuicide.army.mil.
Suicide prevention training resources for Army families can be accessed at http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/training_sub.asp?sub_cat=20 (requires Army Knowledge Online access to download materials).
Information about Military OneSource is located at http://www.militaryonesource.com or by dialing the toll-free number 1-800-342-9647 for those residing in the continental United States. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource website for dialing instructions for their specific location.
Information about the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is located at http://www.army.mil/csf/ .
The Defense Center for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-1020, via electronic mail at Resources@DCoEOutreach.org and at http://www.dcoe.health.mil.