FORT BUCHANAN, PR- Dozens of Service Members and federal employees participated in the kick-off event of the U.S. Army Suicide Awareness and Prevention Campaign, Sept. 7, 2018 at the Army Reserve Installation in Guaynabo.
During the event, Brig. Gen. Narciso Cruz, from the Puerto Rico National Guard, Col. Jorge Marrero, from the U.S. Army Reserve, and Col. Guy Bass from the Garrison Fort Buchanan, signed a proclamation recognizing that suicide is preventable.
"We must embrace life. We can do it. Never, never give up. Life is simply beautiful. Just think about every enjoyable moment in life, and that will certainly outweigh any negative situation. Let's enjoy what life has to offer, and never forget that suicide is preventable," said Marrero.
An interesting moment of the event was when all participants stamped their fingertips in a tree of life painting. The fingertips represent the leaves of the tree. Having everyone taking part of this symbolic act, represents how suicide is a collective effort.
The Army Reserve-Puerto Rico is continuously implementing proactive initiatives to develop an environment where Soldiers, employees and families at risk, are identified and properly assisted.
Recently, Brig. Gen. Dustin A. Shultz, senior federal Army officer in the Caribbean, provided clear guidance on how to approach suicide.
"Suicide affects all sectors of society and the U.S. Army is not an exception. We must ensure every Soldier knows that we encourage them to look for help, if they need it. If one of our Soldiers looks for help, I see that as a clear indicator of strength. Our goal is to develop an environment with positive attitudes while facing everyday difficulties," said Shultz.
The National Suicide Prevention Week is an annual week-long campaign, from Sept. 9-15, when the command informs and engage the Army workforce and families in themes related to suicide prevention and warning signs of suicide.
Personnel who may need help during a crisis can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), where professional counselors will provide assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days. Individuals can also reach www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org