Presentations promote suicide prevention
September 22, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 22, 2011) -- Army Substance Abuse Program will host multiple events next week in observance of suicide prevention month, including a three-act dramatization and a presentation by researcher Dr. Thomas Joiner Monday from 8:30-10:30 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. at the post theater.
There will also be presentations focusing on military suicide statistics by ASAP program director Don Schuman Wednesday at 8:30-10:30 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. at the post theater.
Next week's events stand to help the entire community, because the focus is on prevention across all aspects of military life. The program is open to the public, and ASAP encourages units in need of annual substance abuse training to reserve space before next week, said Traci Dunlap, ASAP clinical case manager.
Joiner is currently a professor at Florida State University. He is an author of more than 385 publications and his work is on the psychology, neurobiology, and treatment of suicidal behavior and related conditions. According to Schuman, Joiner's work will appeal to non-clinicians, even though it is academic.
"These talks are being directed toward nonclinical audiences. There will be statistics, but once people see them they might find them interesting. He is incredible. I've not seen anyone approach suicide the way he does. His presentation is worth seeing and people will learn a lot, no matter what their background," said Schuman.
The three-act dramatizations performed at each event will highlight suicide interventions that can be used for Soldiers, spouses and civilians.
"The vignettes will dramatize people needing an intervention and show how a Soldier-level intervention occurs," said Schuman.
On Wednesday, Schuman will talk about the 2010 Army suicide study.
"I'll break it down into understandable chunks," he said.
ASAP's suicide prevention efforts come as a result of a 2010 Army study on the incidence of suicides among Soldiers that revealed a need for awareness, said Schuman. He added that along with focusing on prevention among enlisted members, the Army is shifting the scope of prevention.
"Right now, the Army's focus is on Soldiers, because that's how we accomplish the mission. The next task is to broaden that focus to include civilians, spouses and Family members.
"The interventions we've developed for Soldiers would be effective for them," he said.
According to Schuman, one of the dramatizations is especially focused on spouses, a demographic that the Army and ASAP hope to better accommodate, said Schuman.
"One of the things we should be aware of is the Soldiers and Families' ability to cope. That's why the theme this year is about building resilience in Army Families," said Dunlap.
For those considering suicide or who fear that a friend or Family member is in crisis, Schuman and Dunlap offered immediate advice.
"Get help, and don't be afraid to get involved," said Schuman.
For more information on suicide prevention and to reserve space at the presentations, call 255-7509.