SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- More than 90 of U.S. Army-Hawaii's battalion-level and above command team members took part in a terrain walk at U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks in order to learn about behavioral health and substance abuse services available to their Soldiers and families, Sept. 27, here.

The walk was just one of the many events going on all day across Hawaii's Army installations in support of the Armywide Suicide Prevention Stand Down Day.

According to the Army's G1 Suicide Prevention website, www.preventsuicide.army.mil, the intent of a terrain walk for suicide prevention is to link leaders and their Soldiers with the activities and agencies that provide behavioral health services to the entire Army family.

The Embedded Behavioral Health Clinic hosted scheduled visits with all 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, command teams in order to let commanders and enlisted leaders meet their primary, secondary and tertiary behavioral health providers assigned to their particular unit.

"This helps 'put a name to a face' and further build trust between to the two parties," explained Lt. Col. Wendi Waits, chief, behavioral health services, USAHC-SB.

Embedded behavioral health is a key component of the Behavioral Health System of Care Campaign Plan that is intended to further standardize and optimize the vast array of behavioral health policies and procedures across Army Medical Command.
The campaign aims to ensure seamless continuity of care to better identify, prevent, treat and track behavioral health issues that affect Soldiers and families during every phase of the Army Force Generation cycle.
The Warrior Behavioral Health Clinic provided information on services available and had a special display set up outside their clinic to quantifiable display the number of Soldiers who took their own life in July. Chairs were draped with brown T-shirts and were annotated with demographic information for each Soldier, visually showing that Soldiers in need come from all ranks and areas of the Army.

The Child and Family Assistance Center briefed visitors on the information and services they provide for families to include between spouses, between parents and children and children and teen-specific services.

The Army Substance Abuse Program was available to brief visitors on their outreach programs and services to include the Confidential Alcohol Treatment and Education Program, or CATEP, which is for Soldiers, as well as the different services and support programs they offer family members. ASAP's programs aim to meet the challenges of military readiness while supporting Soldier and family well-being.

More about the Army's Suicide Prevention Stand Down Day

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III ordered the global stand down day in response to the release of July's suicide figures. As of Sept. 25, 120 active-duty Soldiers are confirmed to have taken their lives while another 67 deaths are under investigation in 2012.

"Suicide is the toughest enemy I have faced in my 37 years in the Army," Austin said, adding that he believes it is preventable through solutions aimed at helping individuals build resiliency to help strengthen their life-coping skills.

Austin said the Army must continue to address the stigma associated with asking for help.

"Ultimately, we want the mindset across our force and society at large to be that behavioral health is a routine part of what we do and who we are as we strive to maintain our own physical and mental wellness," Austin said.

The last Armywide suicide prevention stand down was in 2009 and followed the train-the-trainer concept and how to recognize potential suicides, but this year's program brings a more holistic approach to beating the epidemic, said Walter Morales, chief of the Army Suicide Prevention Program. Morales said Army suicides have more than doubled since 2004.

"This is absolutely a battle that we have to engage in every single day," said Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, Army G-1. "I'm asking all Soldiers this entire month and moving forward to just to think about that as military members, family members, teammates, civilians, neighbors and friends to look out for each other in our community."

(Editor's Note: Army News Service also contributed to the content of this article.)

Page last updated Fri September 28th, 2012 at 00:00