Suicide Prevention Month, Raising Awareness
September 30, 2010
- US Army Alaska
- Suicide prevention/awareness
- Run for Your Life
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - September was Suicide Prevention Month and Fort Wainwright stood up to the challenge by raising the awareness of Soldiers, their families, Department of Defense employees and the community with programs and special events throughout the month.
Special guest speakers Steve Fugate and Jack Scalia provided several talks on their experiences.
Safe Talk training sessions were made available to prepare people for identifying those who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide and how to guide them to the resources that can help.
Cpt. Nathalia Howard, chief, G-1 Policy and Programs, U.S. Army Alaska at Fort Richardson, is the Suicide Prevention Program manager. She was tasked to support Army initiatives on the subject including the observance of Suicide Prevention Month. Howard spearheaded the four-mile fun run, Run for Your Life, held here Sept. 28, with the help of USARAK North, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment and noncommissioned officer in charge Sgt. Katrina Edwards.
"The turn-out was amazing, a true testament to leaders' and Soldiers' concern and support for each other," Howard said.
An estimated 2,000 Soldiers braved the below-freezing temperatures to show their support of September's Suicide Prevention Month, coming together in the early morning hours for the four-mile fun run. USARAK Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Raymond Palumbo and Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. David Turnbull, participated in the run as well.
Presiding over the opening and closing of the event, Palumbo commented that was a good idea to have a cause run and it was well organized, stressing the importance of Soldiers taking care of Soldiers.
"I would like to thank the leadership and Soldiers for making the event a success," Howard said. "It was the 2,000 Soldiers that were present at o-dark-thirty to run in the cold to support their fellow Soldiers that is commendable. I believe that the key to preventing suicide in our organization is what we do on a daily basis for each other. "
Events at Fort Wainwright culminated in a USARAK Command Sergeant Major Breakfast with Turnbull and 30 enlisted Soldiers to discuss current suicide prevention programs and issues and what future steps need to be taken.