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SOS is the morse code statement for distress. The letters have been defined by some people to mean SAVE OUR SOULS. The letters are not an acronym but an international signal of distress. Yes, this morse code signal from a ship might mean the ship is sinking, or it could mean that someone on board needs medical attention. In everyday life, lights don’t emit from people alerting others of distress. Clues, however, may be noticeable.

The clues can be blatant and difficult to ignore. Some of us can recall television episodes of Lassie when the dog would “hound” a human to get help in rescuing another human. Our own pets can let us know too when they are in distress. Knowing their usual behavior is what lets us know when something is not right. When your pet refuses his favorite snack or shies away from greeting you or hides behind you, you know something is off. The key is knowing the pet.

I believe one of the reasons a person’s distress can go unnoticed is that no one knows them. Consequently, a behavior usually present can go absent, and no one witnesses that the person has quit changing clothes or eating.  Unless you know the person, other signs of distress like running in circles and talking to oneself can be overlooked, too.

Another reason that people in distress go unnoticed is that no one can imagine they are having trouble. The Titanic sent numerous SOS signals which were not taken seriously until it was too late. Who could imagine that a ship with so much going for it could have hit something so huge that its integrity was compromised?

If your SOS is going undetected, go to the nearest emergency room, dial 211 or the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Other resources include suicidepreventionlifeline.org, imalive.org and veteranscrisisline.net. 



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