SAFB to address rising number of suicides

SAFB to address rising number of suicides

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Over the next few weeks, the Air Force will stop some of its operations to tackle the personal struggles faced by many airmen.

The Air Force has the highest suicide rate of all branches.

In fact, there have been 30 more suicides reported this year across the Air Force than at this time last year.

“Coming into the Air Force you really don’t know too much, everything is uncertain, you have no idea. Some people don’t know what their job is going to be. No one really knows where their first duty station is going to be, or where they are going to be living within the next year. So yeah, it is very scary to hear that people that are living that lifestyle are feeling so hopeless they take their own life,” Airman First Class Maddie Remillard said.

Remillard joined the Air force about two years ago for the adventure. Since getting in, she’s seen a change in Air Force culture."

“I think the military in general used to be a real cliché thing of shut up and color, you show up to work and do your job and don’t ask questions, and I think we are now trying to hear each other out,” Remillard said.

The Air Force will hold a resiliency stand down over the next couple of weeks.

"It is the start of an initiative where we are going to take the time and really listen to what's going on with the people that are to the left of us and the people to the right of us. A big focus of these is a small group discussion of 8-20 people. They are to going to get together, and the facilitators will have a playbook with the types of questions and the types of dialogue that we are going to have," Community Support Coordinator Micheal Battaglino said.

Battaglino said everyone faces challenges, and in society, there is such stigma asking for help.

“In many instances it is sometimes hard to take a knee and ask for help because when you raise your right hand and choose to support and defend the Constitution of the United States you agree that you are going to hold yourself to a higher standard, but that doesn’t mean that you are never going to need any help from anyone,” Battaglino said.

Officials say what is going on in the military is a reflection of what’s going on in the rest of the world. With suicide being in the top 10 causes of death.

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