FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Anne Lord Bailey and Dan Runyon of Team Unbroken, joined the crowd gathered in the Blanchfield Army Community Hospital parking lot for “Light up the Night,” a candlelight walk and vigil, Sept. 16, to talk about their mission and share their personal stories about suicide.
In observance of National Suicide Prevention Month, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital and Fort Campbell and community partners hosted the event.
The nighttime event included hearing guest speakers from Team Unbroken, a vigil and candlelight walk along the BACH fitness trail.
Bailey said Team Unbroken, a group of veterans and civilians with injuries or disabilities, considers themselves like a rope team. This means they all keep each other centered and the five knots that are on the shirts they wear represent the individual members of the team and is symbolic of their connection to one another.
“But there’s a sixth knot, and that last knot is open,” she said.
The sixth knot of Team Unbroken is for everyone who needs their own rope team, or support system, to get them through dark or trying times, Bailey said.
She went on to share the story of her brother, Wes, who after returning home from a deployment to Qatar, began to struggle with mental health.
“He began to drink more. He began to isolate himself and got into a really bad space mentally,” Baily said. “He lived far away from my immediate Family, but as we began to learn about his struggles, we did everything we could to step in and wrap our arms around him.”
“But he couldn’t see that for whatever reason,” Bailey said.
Bailey’s brother lost his battle with mental illness March 17, 2020.
She encouraged anyone in the audience struggling with mental health to seek help.
“We know what it’s like to be survivors of suicide,” Bailey said. “So, I say to those of you here today who are survivors of suicide who are here, we are a part of your rope team, you are our sixth person and we’re fighting for you.”
Runyon lost his wife to suicide in 2018.
“12 June 2018, my wife, chief medical officer of a very large multistate medical group, committed suicide,” Runyon said. “She was in a lonely place, and I did not see it, I did not recognize it. And what I want to tell you if you are a survivor of a Family member, I am sorry for your loss. If you are a Soldier and you’ve lost a Soldier, I’m sorry for your loss.”
For Soldiers it’s important to have a support network and to remember that Army life isn’t forever, he said.
After the remarks ended, attendees walked along the BACH fitness trail in silence while passing posted signs stating different facts and statistics about suicide.
Representatives from community and the installation agencies were present to talk to attendees to offer support or make referrals.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 800-273-8255 and Fort Campbell Behavioral Health Assistance, located at BACH, is also available to assist those who may need help. To reach BACH Behavioral Health or Embedded Behavioral Health call 270-412-3247.