FORT STEWART, Ga. - The Third Infantry Division kicked off Suicide Prevention month at Fort Stewart's Main Post Chapel Sept. 1 in an effort to bring increased awareness to Soldiers, Family Members and Civilians. The more than 100 attendees were informed of their responsibility for identifying those in need and also other associated high risk behaviors.

"As of July there were 32 suicides in the Army so there is work that we all need to do in terms of looking out for our battle buddies and those around us and take care of each other," said Dr. Paul Wade, Fort Stewart suicide prevention coordinator. "We want you to know that you are not alone."

Chaplain (Col.) Warren Kirby preceded the training with prayer.

"God give us the courage for when we seem alone and things are not going right that we stand up so that we won't be defeated by the enemy," said Col. Kirby. "Let not the enemy defeat us. Give us an opportunity or at least a chance to help us get through that period [darkness] and show us that we are not alone and that you and people around us are there for us."

Attendees then viewed the Army's newly released suicide prevention awareness video, titled "Shoulder to Shoulder: Finding Strength and Hope Together."

The approximately 20 minute video contained actual vignettes from Soldiers, Family Members, DA Civilians and survivors, not actors, regarding their personal struggles with suicidal attempts or those of a loved one. The awareness video is the third such video the Army has produced since 2009 promoting suicide awareness.

"It [suicidal thoughts] could happen to anybody," said Spc. Montaca Holland of Company C, 26th Brigade Support Troops Battalion, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division. "Looking at the ranks (in the video) from a Lieutenant General all the way down to a Private, it's something I can take from and take back to my unit."

While suicide prevention training is mandated, the subject matter is a crucial element to maintaining a stronger mission focused Army and bears repeating, Spc. Holland said.

"What is the other alternative," Spc. Holland asked. "Lose your life and you impact your Family because it's a ripple effect. Like the little girl in the video, had her mom killed herself her daughter would be left alone. You would put someone else in pain by you thinking that you should relieve your own pain."

As a married Soldier himself with children, Spc. Holland could relate to that piece in the video.

"We all go through some things where life is just crazy and I know where I could go to for help," Spc. Holland said.

Suicide prevention training is ongoing throughout the month of September according to Wade.
"Get the word out and encourage your folks to sign up" said Wade. "One suicide is too many."

"You might get tired of hearing the same information but it sticks in your head from hearing it again," Spc. Holland said. "It is something that is on the rise and a very important issue that continues to affect the total Army Family.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call Military OneSource 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for help.

Ongoing Suicide Prevention Month Activities include:

ASIST Training
• Hunter Post Theatre from from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sept. 8
• Fort Stewart Main Chapel from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sept. 15-16
• Fort Stewart Main Chapel Sept. 26-27 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sept. 26-27
•Attending Soldiers will provide Suicide Prevention Training to unit members in support of Safety Stand-Down

ACE SI Training
• Ft. Stewart Education Center, room 247 from 9 a.m. to noon, Sept. 20
• Hunter AAF Post Theatre from 9 a.m. to noon, Sept. 13 and 27
Happy Hour Tour
• Fort Stewart Main Chapel from 10 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 3 p.m., Sept. 29
• Hunter AAF Theatre from 10 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 3 p.m., Sept. 30

Substance Abuse Awareness Training
• Ft. Stewart Education Center Auditorium from 9 to 10 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m., Sept. 26
• Hunter AAF Building from 9 to 10 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m., Sept. 26

Page last updated Thu September 8th, 2011 at 00:00