GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- The Defense Department rolled out a new campaign theme to recognize a major public health concern in our community and many military communities around the globe.

"September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This year's theme is 'Small Steps Save Lives,' which emphasizes the small changes service members and their families can make for a safer life and home," said Carly-Jayne Waters, program manager for U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Army Substance Abuse Program.

Suicide prevention is a focus here in USAG Bavaria. Be aware of stressful situations and identify why these situations exist, and seek available resources to address these stressors.

"One way to make these small changes is to identify some of the stressors in our daily life and then utilize the resources available to cope with them effectively. For example, if you are experiencing financial stress you can contact Army Community Services to schedule an appointment with a financial readiness counselor to help you develop a budget plan and learn tips on how to save money. Taking a small step like this will reduce long-term financial stress and increase your resiliency," said Waters.

USAG Bavaria has invested in professionals who advocate for systems of care that effectively identify, target and treat Soldiers, civilians and their families. Studies reveal there is no specific group immune from stress.

"According to the American Psychological Association's Stress in America Survey conducted in August 2018, adults reported an average stress level of a 4.9 on a scale of one to 10. Millennials were identified as having the highest stress level with an average of 5.7, followed by Gen Z's with an average stress level of 5.3, and then Gen X with an average of 5.1. In contrast, Boomers and older adults reported below the average stress levels (4.1 and 3.3, respectively)," said Waters.

The Army Substance Abuse Program has put out the word to let people know what some of the common stressors are, and what can be done to support our Soldiers, veterans and their families going through a difficult time.

"The survey also stated that the top four common stressors identified are work (64 percent), money (64 percent), health-related concerns (63 percent) and economy (48 percent). These risk factors are known to increase the probability that difficulties could result in serious adverse behavioral or physical health. The risk factors only raise the risk of an individual being suicidal. It does not mean they are suicidal," said Waters.

The garrison is also continuing its' efforts to reduce suicide by adopting a public health perspective. The professionals here are focused on training the community members as gatekeepers to identify and refer those at risk.

Resources are available as well as resiliency training, a tool available to service members and their families. Although it is a tool always available, it is highlighted during the month of September.

"If you would like to learn more about resiliency, how to cope and manage stress, utilize the resources available to you at USAG Bavaria such as the Army Substance Abuse Program, Army Community Services, Behavioral Health, Chaplain services and Military Family Life Consultants," said Waters.

USAG Bavaria also works to assist transitioning service members and their families from the perspective of how to best support uniformed service to civilian life.

Visit ASAP in Tower Barracks Bldg. 555 to learn of other resources that are available to support those who are coping with mental health challenges or are at risk for suicide. ASAP encourages everyone to share these resources.

The emphasis is on creating, assessing and disseminating programs that have a comprehensive impact for the community at large.

For more information, visit the Military Crisis Line website or contact the Military Crisis Line at 001 800-273-8255, then press 1.