By Cheryl Rodewig, The BayonetAugust 16, 2012
FORT BENNING, Ga. - Fort Benning's first Suicide Prevention Stand Down will be Sept. 27.
A culminating activity for Suicide Prevention Month, the stand down will encompass the duty day and include a range of educational and recreational activities geared toward enhancing individual resilience.
"It's not going to be business as usual that day," said Denise Stephens, Suicide Prevention Program manager. "The concept behind it is that … there is something significant that needs our full attention as a force."
Details are still being finalized, but the morning will include blocks of instruction for Soldiers and DA civilians. Training may cover the ACE card (Ask, Care, Escort), substance abuse, Shoulder-to-Shoulder videos or the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention Program -- "whatever the commander feels is most appropriate for his Soldiers," Stephens said.
The afternoon is set aside for a variety of activities -- from sporting events to open houses -- particularly geared toward the Family.
According to All Army Activities release 203/2012, "the intent of the stand down for suicide prevention is to make an immediate impact and to set the stage for long-term progress to reduce suicides, reduce high-risk behavior and improve the health, discipline and resilience of the force."
Stephens said the stand down will raise awareness of not only the warning signs and risk factors associated with suicide but also "the different places and ways you can improve your resilience, which reduces your risk of suicide"
"This is something (where) we all must come together and figure out what is our part to address this issue, and I think a stand down like this is going to help do that," she said. "This is just going to reinforce the idea that suicide prevention is everybody's job. "It's going to be an installationwide approach. "We hope to get this message of awareness and prevention and resilience out to thousands that day. We want everybody participating."
Keep reading The Bayonet and other command channels for more information on the stand down as the date approaches.
For more information about the Army's efforts toward suicide prevention, visit www.preventsuicide.army.mil.