Army Recruiter Helps Stop Suicide Attempt
Mar 19, 2013
by Gabriel Morse
GREENVILLE, Mich. -- "Sir, I need help, please. I've been sitting here with a gun in my hand and I want to end my life. I don't know what to do. I feel [like] hopeless, helpless, worthless scum. I want to end it all. Please sir, help me. Nobody cares, and I'm about ready to snap. I can't take it."
These were the frightening words Staff Sgt. Jason DeRosa received Dec. 14, 2012, via Facebook from a high school student he'd previously spoken to about Army opportunities. The 29-year-old recruiter regularly uses Facebook to reach out to students in his high schools; he said it's faster and easier. In his wildest dreams, however, he said he'd never imagined receiving a message like this.
"We'd been sending messages back and forth for a while by the time she started telling me she was in her bedroom holding her father's handgun and thinking of hurting herself," said DeRosa, from Great Lakes Army Recruiting Battalion's Greenville Center.
At first DeRosa wasn't sure if it was a prank, but knew he had to take it seriously without scaring her away. As Facebook was their only link, and not knowing how desperate she really was, he had to be careful about pushing her. Knowing she had recently moved due to her parents' divorce, he felt it was imperative he continue talking to her and find out what was going on so he could get her the proper help. Believing the student was serious about taking her life, DeRosa knew he was her only lifeline at that moment.
"I've taken the Army suicide prevention classes and knew I didn't want to leave a lull in the conversation where something bad could happen," said the nine-year veteran with two combat tours. "She'd asked for help and support before and felt she wasn't receiving it."
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