WIESBADEN - September is Suicide Prevention Month and the Army's theme in 2023 is “Connect to protect: Support is Within Reach.”
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden observed suicide prevention month with a paintball tournament and poetry with leaders, Soldiers, civilians, and members of the community on Clay North, September 8.
After opening remarks provided by U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Commander, Col. David Mayfield, the rest of the garrison command team, including Deputy to the Garrison Commander Mitchel Jones and Command Sgt. Maj. Yves Pamphil, joined Mayfield to sign the Suicide Prevention Month Campaign 2023 Proclamation.
The proclamation acknowledged the garrison command team’s commitment to recognize September as Suicide Prevention month – an observance universally observed worldwide.
The Army is committed to recognizing the pivotal role that commanders and leaders have in the well being and care of their teams. Building strong and cohesive teams is critical to the success of any Army formation.
Leaders providing the resources needed to strengthen reliance and improve personal readiness is pivotal to fighting and winning on the battlefield.
The garrison command team, in concert, acknowledged the important role that relationships and interpersonal connections between family, friends, and the community have in preventing suicides.
“Together, we can help our service members, families, civilian members of the workforce, retirees and veterans foster a culture of resilience and mental health awareness by providing education, resources, and a supportive community,” Mayfield said.
Interpersonal bonds, cultivated daily, can serve as a support system during tough times.
Strengthening social connectedness, a proactive factor in suicide prevention, together with Army structured training and resources can build personal resilience, improve communication, and enhance relationships for those who feel hopeless and alone.
Suicide awareness and prevention events, such as those held on Clay North – and the proclamation signing – continue to highlight the issue of suicide within the Army ranks.
These events, also, bring focused attention on the problems surrounding the perceived stigma that often shrouds those in crisis and preventing them for reaching out for help.
“It is important to eliminate that stigma, by promoting help-seeking behaviors that will enhance mental well-being for all within our military community,” Mayfield added.
Being a light in someone’s life can be the single ray of hope that guides someone in crisis, from ideation, towards help and safety.
Ask, Care, Escort
If you suspect someone is in crisis, ask if they are thinking about harming themselves.
Keeping the lines of communication open can be a simple way of reaffirming those in need that they are cared for, and they are important. A simple act of kindness can be an opening to help get someone in crisis the care and help they need.
As a team of teams, we must always look out for one another by identifying the signs and keep those in need safe.
It is imperative that individuals escort or remove anyone who harbors ideations of self-harm or suicide away from places or items that might be used in carrying out an ideation.
Escorting those in need to the Army resources that are in place to assist those in need can be a powerful initial step on the road to recovery and a great sense of well-being.
As part of the suicide awareness month observance a selected poem was read by the U.S. Army Europe and Africa Army Substance Abuse Program Advisor Genevieve Heck:
You are life! (appears here with permission from the author).
Today, is not the poet who writes,
Today, writes that friend who cares for you.
Today, I want to give you my happiness and stay with your sadness,
I want to dry your tears and give you my smiles.
Let me help you understand that life is everything…
you are life, yes! you, with your smiles and your tears,
your happiness, and sorrows, with your sweet thoughts and concerns.
You are life!
Lift your face up and look ahead, do not let the silence get a hold of you,
don’t let the sweet sound of the wind get lost in the horizon.
Don’t let the sprayed rain stop touching your face,
don’t let the colors of the rainbow fade without giving you a smile.
Live even if you don’t understand the reason of your existence!
Live even if you have no desire to live, only live!
Live and keep walking because who falls, rises.
Live because you are not alone, I am here, and I will not turn my back on you.
Because you are life!
Live your emotions and your broken dreams,
live the essence of flowers which give its fragrance.
Live times of hurricanes and storms, but then live the calm.
I want to witness that you live with intensity the loves that comes and goes.
Live every moment of your life as if it no there tomorrow, only live!
Live because you are life!
Look at your image in a mirror carefully…you are life,
understand that you are part of the divine creation, and we need you.
Let me share your murky, obscure, and confusing moments,
give them to me to release your load and know that you are not alone.
Give me your hand, I want to show you that there is someone in this
life that will not let go of you.
Live and share with the world that being happy is not perfection,
recognize that life is pretty, despite all difficulties…
friend of mine, just live!
Enjoy the joy and delight, as well as you live your sadness,
pain and bitterness.
Live as children who jump and shout of joy,
Live with eagle wings because you can fly as high.
Live what you carry inside and when you think in death, just smile,
and remember that life is you!
Live because you are life!
If you or someone you know is in crisis please reach out for help – you are not alone.
The #MilitaryCrisisLine is available 24/7. Dial 988 and press 1.
In Europe, call 00800 1273 8255. In Korea, call 080-855-5118, or visit https://www.militaryonesource.mil/resources/millife-guides/suicide-prevention/
Connect to protect: If in the Wiesbaden area, visit the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden website to learn about what garrison resources are available to help you better manage the day-to-day life challenges that might be weighing you down.