FORT KNOX, Ky. — Fort Knox officials are planning a series of efforts to get the community talking about Suicide Prevention Month this year.
This year’s theme, “Connect to Protect, Support is Within Reach,” is aimed at doing just that.
On Sept. 22 at 8 a.m., Fort Knox leaders are calling upon the community to walk, jog, or run from 1 to 22 laps around Brooks Parade Field. Each lap is roughly equivalent to one mile. Soldiers, Family members and DA civilians are welcome to join individually or as a relay team.
Tied to Suicide Prevention Month is the “Let’s Get Moving for Life” Walk/Jog/Run initiative, which is designed to encourage the community to be active together.
Shirley Johnson, Fort Knox Army Substance Abuse Program and Suicide Prevention Program Coordinator/Risk Reduction Program Coordinator said he has established a plan for each week, addition to the Sept. 22 engagement, to help the community complete the 22-mile mark by the end of the month.
For each week, participants are given the options to take the full week to complete the mileage goals, or to meet up on Sept. 2, 16, 23, and 30 to complete the goal with other participants. Warm up starts at 0800 at the Brady Loop Trailhead parking lot, located on the corner of Wilson RD and 9th Cav Regiment Ave.
“'Let’s Get Moving for Life' also gets after the senior commander’s priorities derived from the Strengths and Themes Assessment. The priorities for 2023 are overweight, work/life imbalance, and stress,” Johnson stated.
The Army has established the Five Dimensions of Personal Readiness: emotional, physical, spiritual, family, and social. To get units actively involved, every unit has been assigned the task of planning and completing events that target three of the five during September.
“For example, Human Resources Command is planning a spiritual luncheon on 28 September to help strengthen spirituality throughout the command,” said Johnson.
Johnson explained that with Fort Knox’s diverse mission set, it is more effective for units to take charge of planning their own event in addition to participating in and promoting other suicide prevention events on the installation.
All units having been given flyers for each event are encouraged to share across the unit, he said.
Another act of support promoted throughout the month is the wearing of turquoise or purple every Monday, which are considered the colors of suicide prevention.
“Awareness does not change behavior; awareness alerts us to look out for our family, our coworkers and ourselves”, Johnson said. “The goal is to discover and target primary adversities and stressors because they are likely to lead to unhealthy behaviors.”
Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is in a crisis, dial or text 988 to receive 24/7 free and confidential support from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.