Fort Knox shares winning strategy for Suicide Awareness, Prevention Month
Army officials at Fort Knox have come up with new ways to emphasize the importance of suicide awareness and prevention in 2022. One way is through a flag football tournament, set to begin Sept. 7. (Photo Credit: Fort Knox News archive photo by Jenn DeHaan) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT KNOX, Ky. — To increase emphasis on the well-being of the Army Family during Suicide Prevention Month this September, Fort Knox officials are hosting events aimed at promoting each of the five dimensions of personal readiness.

They are encouraging personnel to get involved in a single elimination adult flag football tournament and Knox’s “Prevent 22 in ‘22” walk/jog/run/bike initiative throughout the month.

“The theme this year is ‘Connect to Protect,’ the same as last year,” said Shirley Johnson, Fort Knox Army Substance Abuse Program specialist. “Research has shown that social support helps ward off the effects of stress on depression, anxiety and other health problems. Suicidal behaviors are a major concern for the Army.”

Johnson explained that Army leaders have continued to place increasing emphasis on the well-being of Soldiers, civilian employees and their families. As a result, the heart of their efforts at Fort Knox are targeting health promotion, risk reduction and suicide prevention, not just during the month of September.

“Commanders, first-line supervisors and leaders at all levels must constantly engage their Soldiers, DA civilians and family members in these efforts,” said Johnson.

Johnson said he is asking each unit and organization to come up with at least three events throughout the month that will serve to emphasize the five dimensions of personal readiness; they are physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and family.

“Sometimes when our life skills and coping skills are failing, all we have to hold onto are those dimensions of personal readiness,” said Johnson. “They help us overcome adversity.”

Events by week.

Johnson has divided all the monthly run goals up by week. Although he expects a lot of running to take place during the football tournament, Johnson said that event will not count toward the monthly goal of 22 miles per person.

During Week 1, participants are encouraged to participate in the walk/jog/run/bike event by completing a minimum of four miles. Johnson said the miles can be earned all at once or broken up into smaller goals throughout the week.

Fort Knox shares winning strategy for Suicide Awareness, Prevention Month
(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fort Knox ASAP) VIEW ORIGINAL

Johnson said he is inviting participants to join him on a four-miler “out and back” Sept. 3, beginning at Brady Loop Trailhead parking lot, located at the corner of 9th Cavalry Avenue and Wilson Road. A warmup will be conducted at 9 a.m., before setting off on the journey.

Those participating will first need to sign a Waiver & Assumption of Risk Form.

Also on the first week, Fort Knox is hosting an adult flag football tournament. Each organization and unit has been asked to field a team.

The single-elimination tournament will be held at the Kilianski Sports Complex Sept. 7, with the final game played on Sept. 15, weather permitting. Three organizations will be represented: U.S. Army Recruiting Command; U.S. Army Cadet Command; and 19th Engineer Battalion.

During Week 2, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation will host a walk/jog/run event called the “Bark-N-Dash 5K” on Sept. 10 in participation of the “Prevent 22 in ‘22” walk/jog/run/bike event. The 5K will begin and end at the Fort Knox Water Park.

Fort Knox shares winning strategy for Suicide Awareness, Prevention Month
(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fort Knox FMWR) VIEW ORIGINAL

Those planning to participate can sign up and get up-to-date information at https://knox.armymwr.com/programs/running-program.

During Week 3, the “Prevent 22 in ‘22” walk/jog/run/bike awareness event continues, with an overall goal of six miles. Johnson said he will again be sponsoring an “out and back” six-miler starting and ending at the Brady Loop Trailhead Sept. 17. Warmup will begin at 9 a.m.

As with every week, those participating are encouraged to meet the goal at their own pace and time.

During Week 4, the “Prevent 22 in ‘22” walk/jog/run/bike event goal is seven miles. The “out and back” event will take place Sept. 24 at the same location and same times as in previous weeks.

As with every other week, the Waiver & Assumption of Risk Form must be signed before participants can get involved in the event.

Other ways to show support.

Johnson said there are other ways to show support and get the word out about suicide prevention. One of those is wearing purple and turquoise colors every Monday throughout the month.

Several units are doing Unit Risk Inventories, designed to identify under-the-radar, high risk behaviors to come up with mitigating efforts to prevent suicide and promote the health of the unit.

“This is all about connecting people to people,” said Johnson. “We’ve spent the last couple of years isolated, and isolation is the enemy of resiliency. We are looking to bring the community back together.”