Military & First Responders

Strength to Ask for Help

The toughness and self-reliance that is or was so important in the military or as first responders can sometimes make it difficult to seek help. Sometimes, the toughest battles are the ones we fight within ourselves. If you're struggling with feelings of despair, hopelessness, or thoughts of suicide, we ask you to STAY.


STAY is a commitment to yourself, to your comrades, and to your loved ones. It's a declaration to face the internal battles with the same determination that you've shown in your service. It's a call to reach out, to seek help, and to remember that even the strongest among us can need support. Sometimes you are the buddy; sometimes you need a buddy.

You Are Not Alone

You are not alone in this battle. Many service members and first responders have faced similar struggles and have found paths to healing and a healthier, happier life. There are resources and communities dedicated to supporting you.

Reach Out for Help

If you're feeling hopeless, STAY and reach out for help. Start by calling 1‑800‑256­‑2522. This is the Behavioral Health Crisis Line, and they're available 24/7 to provide support . You can also reach out to a trusted comrade, friend, or family member and be honest about how you are feeling: If you’ve thought about suicide, let them know.

Remember: The journey to feeling better begins with deciding to STAY

STAY is a simple, powerful message. It's a request for you to stay with us, to stay in this world, and to stay strong in the face of internal battles. It's a message of resilience, and hope. If you are struggling, remember to STAY. Reach out for help. And know that there are people who care about you and want you to stay alive.

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Recognizing Warning Signs

If you observe one or more of these warning signs, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change, it's important to step in or speak up:

  • Talking about death or suicide
  • Seeking methods for self-harm, such as searching online or obtaining a weapon
  • Talking about feelings of hopelessness or having no reason to live
  • Reckless behavior
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Uncontrolled anger
  • Putting affairs in order or giving away possessions
  • Showing sudden mood changes
  • Withdrawing from social activities

Remember, these do not necessarily mean a person is thinking about suicide, but they should not be ignored. If you notice any of these signs, it's important to connect and offer help.

Additional Warning Signs for Military & First Responders

  • Exhibiting extreme mood swings
  • Showing signs of severe anxiety or being on edge, hypervigilant
  • Neglecting personal care and appearance
  • Sudden and extreme change in behavior, especially calmness after a period of anxiety
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
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Understanding the Challenges

The unique challenges faced in these professions can contribute to mental distress. They include:

Military and Veterans

  • Exposure to traumatic events and high-stress situations
  • Combat stress ("battle fatigue")
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Feeling disconnected from civilian life, family and friends
  • Transition stress, including uncertainty about identity and purpose

First Responders

  • High-stress work environments
  • Unpredictable, high-risk situations
  • Exposure to violence and trauma
  • Anxiety, depression and burnout
  • Sense of loss after retirement

If you're thinking about suicide, please stay and reach out for support.

Call now: 1‑800‑256‑2522


Reach out and find help.

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What to do

If you're thinking about suicide, please stay and reach out for support.

Call now: 1-800-256-2522