CAMP ZAMA, Japan – The Army Substance Abuse Program here is currently holding a virtual 5K walk or run to promote self-care and highlight resources in support of Suicide Prevention Month.
Community members can participate in the run from anywhere until Sept. 30 and will receive a swag bag upon completion while supplies last.
“As many of us know, self-care is very important to combat depression, stress and things of that nature, so that's why we're focusing on the run to promote self-care,” said Leslie Noel, an ASAP specialist.
Dozens of people have already signed up for the event, which has 500 running bibs available for those interested in joining, Noel said.
The deadline to register is Sept. 15. Participants can sign up through their unit Ask, Care, Escort–Suicide Intervention facilitator, at Yano Fitness Center, or the Resiliency and Restoration Center at Building 534.
The run can be completed individually or as an organization. Once complete, participants can email proof of their run by taking a photo of themselves with their bib and a map of their route, which can be from a running app, to their ACE-SI facilitator or to email@example.com.
Last month, the Army published a new regulation for the Army Suicide Prevention Program that lays out comprehensive policies to address risk and protective factors to reduce stressors that may lead to harmful behaviors.
The regulation provides an increased focus on prevention and codifies the Army’s public health approach that is based on the Centers for Disease Control’s suicide prevention recommendations.
“Every single suicide is one tragedy too many,” said Army Secretary Christine Wormuth. “Exposure to harmful behaviors, such as sexual assault, harassment or other acts of violence, may increase the risk of suicide. The Army is committed to supporting those exposed to harmful behaviors and doing everything we can to address this critical issue.”
Noel said that ASAP continually works with several on-post organizations to support protective factors as part of its suicide prevention efforts.
For instance, ASAP collaborates with Army Community Service and the Religious Support Office to help individuals build stronger relationships, one of the protective factors.
“ACS and the chaplains are able to actually mitigate that risk through communication classes, marital counseling and through individual counseling,” she said.
ASAP also plans to hold Value of Life classes Sept. 13 and 20 at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. The training is open to all community members and will take place at the Camp Zama Community Club.
The goal of the classes is to emphasize the importance of protective factors and introduce students to the organizations that can assist with them.
“All of these agencies are here on Camp Zama,” Noel said. “And if you just reach out to them, the support is within reach to help you to get to the other side.”
(Editor’s Note: If you or a loved one is experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, you can seek assistance by chatting on the Military/Veterans Crisis Line at www.veteranscrisisline.net or by calling DSN 263-8255 or commercial at 046-407-8255.)