Troops run to increase suicide prevention awareness
September 27, 2012
Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico- With the intent of fostering an environment of genuine care and concern for the soldiers, civilians and family members assigned to the US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, members of the 1st Mission Support Command (1st MSC) and the Fort Buchanan community participated in a suicide prevention awareness run, Sept. 27.
"This event is a great way to deliver the message of suicide prevention. By running, we not only promote our physical readiness, but also our Esprit de corps, while highlighting that our mental and spiritual readiness are equally important," said Col. Eric Bermudez, 1st MSC, US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, Chief of Staff.
The largest Army Reserve Command in the Caribbean is actively engaged in raising the awareness of suicide prevention, through a series of preventive initiatives conducted earlier during the month.
"Suicide is not an acceptable option for soldiers. When we talk about the slogan Army Strong, that includes mental and spiritual strength, along with physical strength. It is a combination. You could have a 300 score in the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test), but if you are not mentally fit... you need help," said Lt. Col. Jose A. Rivera, 1st MSC, US Army Reserve Puerto Rico, Assistant Chief of Staff, during the command's suicide prevention training, conducted Sept. 8.
Training the troops about the risk factors of suicide, has the intent of making each and every member of the command understand that seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but of great valor.
"As members of the big US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico family, we stick together and help each other, especially during difficult times. I encourage those members of the command, who may be going through difficult financial or personal times, to seek help. You are not alone. Seeking help is a sign of maturity and strength," added Bermudez.
Another example of the command emphasis placed on this initiative is a company run conducted by the 390th Transportation Company, a 1st MSC subordinate unit based in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, during the most recent Battle Assembly, Sept. 9.
"It was a great experience because the troops not only received the information through a briefing. They also noticed that the command was engaged, not only talking about suicide prevention, but taking a concrete action to increase awareness," said Capt. Jay Rodriguez, commander of the 390th Transportation Company, while referring to the suicide prevention run.
According to 1st MSC leaders, the effort to effectively increase awareness of the preventable nature of suicide goes beyond conducting a briefing or a run.
"Leaders must know their soldiers, civilians and families. We must let them know they are not alone and that, as members of this command, they can count on the Army Reserve family to face the struggles of life," said Bermudez.
The Army Reserve-Puerto Rico joins the Army around the world in observing September as Suicide Prevention Month.
For assistance, soldiers and family members can contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline/Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).