Fort Sill shines a light during Suicide Prevention Month: You are a light in somebody's life

By Christopher WilsonSeptember 13, 2023

Fort Sill Shines a Light During Suicide Prevention Month: You Are a Light in Somebody's Life
Maj. Gen. Winston Brooks, commanding general, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill and Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Sartain unite with Fort Sill soldiers to emphasize the importance of community support during Suicide Prevention Month. Embracing the "This is My Squad" philosophy, the Army underscores the significance of relationships and proactive communication in preventing self-directed harm. (Photo Credit: Christopher Wilson) VIEW ORIGINAL
Suicide Prevention Month is a time for our entire community to stand as a beacon of support. Every one of us has the power to make a difference in someone's life, and it's imperative that we show we care — Maj. Gen. Winston Brooks, commanding general, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill

Need help now? Visit the 988 Lifeline Chat and Text

FORT SILL Okla. (Sept. 13, 2023) — September marks Suicide Prevention Month and Fort Sill stands united in raising awareness and fostering a culture of care.

Aligned with the Department of Defense's theme "Connect to Protect: Support is Within Reach," the Army's theme "You are a light in somebody's life" underscores the significance of relationships and connections in preventing suicide.

Maj. Gen. Winston Brooks, commanding general, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill, emphasized the importance of coming together during this crucial month. He said, "Suicide Prevention Month is a time for our entire community to stand as a beacon of support. Every one of us has the power to make a difference in someone's life, and it's imperative that we show we care."

Throughout September, the Army and Fort Sill is dedicated to addressing the issue of suicide through a comprehensive program that integrates strategies and activities aimed at preventing self-directed and harmful behaviors. Recognizing the influential role of commanders and leaders, the Army's suicide prevention program equips them with tools and resources to effectively address these challenges.

Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Sartain added, "Our focus remains on creating environments where Soldiers and their families feel empowered to seek help and support when needed. We are all part of a larger community that cares deeply for one another."

At the forefront of this initiative is the "This is My Squad" philosophy, embraced by first-line leaders who foster healthy climates, nurture trust, and promote unit cohesion. This approach not only enhances readiness but also reinforces the understanding that every member plays a critical role in their comrades' well-being, said Sartain.

The new evidence-based suicide prevention training centers on the "Ask, Care, Escort" (ACE) curriculum. This curriculum empowers commanders to recognize warning signs, address risks, and create a support network for their units. The ACE training not only reduces stigma but also encourages a proactive approach to suicide prevention said Jay Khalifeh, Fort Sill ASAP program manager.

Maj. Gen. Brooks underscored the importance of communication, saying, "Being a light in someone's life begins with open dialogue. For those concerned about loved ones, simple steps like asking direct questions and staying connected can make a significant difference."

The Army offers invaluable resources for those who suspect a loved one may be considering suicide:

Ask, "Are you thinking about killing yourself?"

• Ensure safety by limiting access to lethal items.

• Be there to listen and understand their thoughts and feelings.

• Connect them to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (call or text 988) and the Crisis Text Line (741741).

• Maintain connections after a crisis, showing unwavering support.

Fort Sill remains committed to building cohesive teams and providing Soldiers and families with the tools to enhance resilience and personal readiness, said Khalifeh. By standing together and fostering an environment of empathy and understanding, Fort Sill aims to be that guiding light for those in need.

Be a light, ignite hope - join us as we continue to build a culture that continues to care for our Soldiers, Marines civilians and families during Suicide Prevention Month.

Need help now? Visit the 988 Lifeline Chat and Text