Suicide Prevention Stand Down Day was a Department of the Army sponsored event to increase resilience and awareness for all Soldiers, Civilians and Family Members. The theme was "Shoulder to Shoulder -- We stand up for Life." Another intent was to create open discussions and gather new ideas on how to reduce suicides throughout the Army.

"On Sept. 20, we joined with the Wiesbaden community and with our own units to develop a deeper understanding of how we can collectively tackle the serious issue of suicides in our Army formations," said Brig Gen. Bruce T. Crawford, commander, 5th Signal Command.

"To me, this was a day to bring everyone together and discuss different methods of recognizing signs of suicide and prevention methods. It was a day to get everyone to think about suicide prevention and to understand that we are all involved and responsible," said Jonathon M. Gray, a knowledge management officer with 5th Signal Command.

Sgt. Arnold R. Caceres, a human resources sergeant assigned to 5th Signal Command, described the day in his own words, "For me, Suicide Prevention Stand Down Day was a day to increase suicide prevention awareness and enhance resiliency to prevent future suicides in the Army."

Soldiers, civilians and Family members listened to multiple guest speakers and watched skits at the Clay Kaserne fitness center. The topics focused on the prevention of suicide and information on how to identify those in need of help.

"I gained an understanding of life events that could help push someone towards suicide, and to further recognize signs of someone who might be suicidal. I also learned that everyone should have someone to talk to in times of need. Help should be sought after, but only after listening first," Gray said.

"I also learned that talking and bonding with people outside of work, on a personal level, is something that we as humans crave but always neglect in the face of a quick-paced work environment," he said.

"I was familiarized with the resources available through the Army to assist other Soldiers in need. I learned that there is a hotline on the Wiesbaden garrison website for immediate assistance," said Caceres.

At the conclusion of the events at the gym, Soldiers and civilians were released to report back to their units to begin small group discussions about the information received at the fitness center.

"I feel more capable of helping others. Most of what I learned during Suicide Prevention Stand Down Day was during the small group session, when our group shared personal insights and discussed the morning's events," said Gray. 

"Being a Soldier you are always busy. Whether it's long hours of work or being on a detail, you are always occupied. Having a mandatory day devoted to suicide prevention is great. This stand down provides the tools needed to help someone that is thinking of committing suicide and that is important because you can save someone's life," said Caceres. 

"I saw it as a success. It is something that got people talking, not only about suicide, but about themselves and things outside of a work environment," Gray said.

"This will take extra effort and even require a new way of thinking on our part. I am confident that we can make a difference on this issue if we continue to keep this dialogue going," said Crawford.

Page last updated Mon September 24th, 2012 at 11:08