Risks, recognition, prevention are stand down issues

| September 21, 2012 | 6 Comments
The Army will hold a suicide prevention stand down, Thursday, Sept. 27, to emphasize awareness and prevention. (Photo by Vickey Mouzé, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. Depiction by Estrella Araiza)

The Army will hold a suicide prevention stand down, Thursday, Sept. 27, to emphasize awareness and prevention. (Photo by Vickey Mouzé, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. Depiction by Estrella Araiza, Honolulu Star-Advertiser.)

Mylinda Morris
Army Substance Abuse Program

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Using the theme “A Healthy Force is a Ready Force,” the Army is emphasizing Suicide Prevention Awareness this month, with a Suicide Prevention Stand Down ordered for U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, Sept. 27.

“We believe that suicide can be prevented,” said Pamela Jinnohara, director, Army Substance Abuse Program.

Suicide prevention efforts focus on total Army family well-being, resilience, stigma reduction and positive results achieved by getting involved and reaching out for help.

“My intent (for the Sept. 27 stand down) is for all USAG-HI Soldiers, families and civilians to be aware of the resources available to them to preserve life, increase resilience and improve the health and strength of the garrison community,” said Col. Daniel Whitney, commander, USAG-HI.

Risk Factors

Risk factors include any person who is in a stressful situation. Perhaps someone has a strained relationship with a loved one or has recently faced the loss of a loved one.

Maybe someone is having financial or legal difficulties.

Another concern may be moving, changing jobs or transitioning in or out of the military. All of these situations put a person at higher risk for strained coping.

Recognizing Risk

“We want our community to become more resilient and aware of the warning signs,” Whitney said, adding, “and (to) become familiar with the tools and services available at their respective location to increase resilience and reduce suicides throughout the force.”

Potential suicide warning signs are frequently tied to observable behaviors that may vary from person to person. They include the following:

•Someone who is giving away prized possessions;

•Someone starting to drink alcohol or use prescriptions or illegal drugs in a way that is harmful; and

•Someone who becomes angry or depressed and demonstrates behavior changes.

If you are tuned into risk factors and warning signs, you may be able to help someone find the resources they need to get help.

Local efforts to recognize suicidal tendencies include training in an “Ask, Care, Escort – Suicide Intervention” class at 9 a.m., Sept. 27, at the Schofield Barracks Installation Training Center. To sign up, call 655-9105.

Feedback from people who have attended this course has been very positive.

Suicide Prevention Stand Down

The Army is holding a mandatory Suicide Prevention Stand Down, also, on Sept. 27.

On this day, ASAP Suicide Prevention team members will present four sessions of “Shoulder to Shoulder: Finding Strength and Hope Together” and ACE training throughout the day at the Sgt. Smith Theater, here, at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Each session is 90 minutes long.

Active duty Army and civilians are required to attend a session; retirees and adult family members are welcome to attend, too.

“Ask, Care, Escort” Class

This suicide intervention class is scheduled for 9 a.m., Sept. 27, at the Schofield Barracks Installation Training Center. The four-hour interactive class uses scenarios to facilitate peer support for Soldiers, DA civilians and family members.

To sign up, call 655-9105.

Resources

See videos and get more information on the Army Suicide Prevention Program:

•www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/spmonth/default.asp;

•www.facebook.com/InstallationManagementCommunity;

•twitter.com/armyimcom; and

•www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzceLmVnj6A.

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Category: Community, Health, Leadership, Safety

Comments (6)

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  1. Samantha Wilson says:

    This pisses me off that Schofield Barracks wants to do something now 3 weeks after my brothers passing. Maybe you should of thought about this before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • haw says:

      Samantha,
      There is no way to describe the grief of anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide. To attempt to describe the feeling as devastating seems inadequate.
      The need to talk openly about suicide warning-signs, however, is an important healing response for the entire community. The recent “Suicide Stand Down Day” serves as a re-commitment to teach us all about both the critical warning signs and, also, the methods of prevention. The goal is painful when used in hindsight, but essential for the future: to prevent future tragedy.
      We humbly offer the thoughts and prayers, on behalf of the entire community, to you, your family and the friends and loved ones of your brother. Jack

  2. danielle falvo says:

    I like that you are now doing this, but don’t you agree that it is a little too late for some families? this should be something that us done throughout the year, and everyone should always be aware of the sources they have for help. rest in paradise E.S.S.

    • haw says:

      Danielle, thank you for your heartfelt response. There is no debating the frustration in knowing nothing can be done to bring back loved ones already passed, particularly when the correct type of intervention might have prevented tragedy.
      Please know that the Army has provided vast amounts of resources to all military and civilian personnel to help prevent suicide, including annual required training to every Soldier and civilian.
      Through efforts such as the recent “Stand Down Day” there is even greater resolve being devoted in the effort to prevent future tragedies. Jack

  3. allison morris says:

    It would be nice if this were true, but it’s not. The sad fact is that the Army does not care. Even when a Soldier reaches out for help, they are ignored.

    • haw says:

      Allison, as a member of the Army Hawaii community, there have been volumes of information, videos and mandatory training about the terrible issue of suicide in the Army in recent years. A significant commitment of resources has been made. Now we must use these tools more effectively. That, to me, is an important message of the recent “Stand Down Day.”
      We must all work together, with greater unified effort, to ensure a greater awareness of suicide symptoms and prevention measures becomes commonplace throughout our community.
      We are all members of the Army. As such, we are the Army.
      We all share a responsibility to our fellow Soldiers, civilians, and family members to protect and defend each other in a manner, not dissimilar, to the freedoms and protection our Soldiers provide to all of us and our nation. Jack

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