FORT KNOX, Ky. — Army Substance and Abuse Program officials here are making plans to participate in this year’s National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month through a series of events called “Connect to Protect.”The campaign will emphasize the Army’s commitment to the health, safety, and well-being of its Soldiers, Family members and civilian employees by focusing on thought exercises, planning and ways to communicate support.“As the country deals with the ongoing stress and uncertainty around the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remember that we all have a role to play in promoting connectedness, belonging, resiliency and prevention,” said Shirley Johnson Jr., Army Substance Abuse Program specialist at Fort Knox. “Many Soldiers, Family Members and Civilians are dealing with stress and feelings of despair related to physical distancing, health concerns, job loss, and financial uncertainty.”Research has shown that social support wards off the effects of stress on depression, anxiety and other health problems, according to Johnson. As a result, Fort Knox officials are encouraging Soldiers, Families, and civilians to participate in a different exercise each week during the month of September.Week 1. Make a short list of friends and family members who are supportive and positive. Include a list of people you think need to regularly stay in touch with, such as parents, a close friend or adult child who lives far away, or an aging relative who lives alone. Make a commitment to call, email or get together with people on the list on a reasonable schedule. Reach out to make at least one emotional connection a day during the month.Week 2. By the end of the week, finalize a detailed social plan for the month of October. Explore ways to create opportunities to strengthen relationships in fun ways that connect with friends or family. Looking forward to special activities to boosts their spirits, gives them energy and makes them more productive.As well, officials are asking people to wear yellow Sept. 10 in support of World Suicide Prevention Day, then take a selfie and post it on social media sites along with the hashtag #WorldSuicidePreventionDay.Week 3. At the squad or team level, train, demonstrate or perform a positive coping skill or positive life skill. A coping skill is considered any characteristic of behavioral pattern that enhances a person’s adaption. These skills include a stable value or religious belief system, problem solving techniques, social skills, health-energy, and commitment to a social network. A life skill is the ability to cope with stressors and challenges of daily life. Skills include communication and literacy, decision-making, occupational requirements, problem-solving, time management and planning.“Soldiers, DA civilians and Family members can sometimes feel stressed out,” said officials. “Know that having effective coping, problem-solving and communications skills can make a big difference.”Week 4. At the squad or team level, conduct a resource finding drill. Each day of this week, have a few members research and provide one emergency resource and one local non-emergency resource. At a minimum, the information should provide the contact information and a brief description of the services that pertain to a resource.“It is okay to sometimes feel sad, frustrated, or angry. We all have days when we are not feeling like ourselves,” said Johnson. “How you navigate those feelings is important.”One source officials are encouraging people to use is Call Military OneSource. Those who need help can call 800-342-9647 or visit www.militaryonesource.mil.As well as weekly events, Fort Knox officials are encouraging all community members to show their support by driving with headlights on low beam during the day and wear the suicide prevention colors of purple or turquoise every Monday throughout the month._________________________________________________________Editor’s Note: To download resources to share on social media channels, visit the DSPO Suicide Prevention Month page HERE. Officials are also asking those who post words of encouragement to use the following hashtags: #SPM20, #ConnectToProtect, and #BeThere.