Proclamation signing kicks off Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

The 3rd Infantry Division Command Team, Maj. Gen. Mike Murray and Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Gilpin, sign the 2014 Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Proclamation, Aug. 26, at Club Stewart. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month with a focus on the resiliency and positive life-coping skills of our Soldiers and Families.

September is the Army Suicide Prevention Month. This event helps Soldiers, Family Members and Civilians become familiar with the resources accessible to them.

According to Suicide Prevention Action Network’s "Suicide Prevention: Prevention Effectiveness and Evaluation" booklet, suicide has been a leading cause of death in the United States. Because we do not understand the actual causes of suicide, we must address it with the proper awareness and education. Commanders and leaders must have the knowledge and awareness to be able to recognize early warning signs in order to encourage the Soldier to seek help.

A good understanding of the concepts and principles pertaining to prevention will help to minimize the stigma prevalent in suicidal thoughts, which may result in Soldiers and Family Members accepting guidance.

The military have programs and trainings in place to change the social norms to encourage individuals to seek help when dealing with anger, substance abuse, financial issues and/or domestic violence. These programs will allow Soldiers to develop and utilize healthy coping skills in time of need; however, raising awareness of suicide is an imperative action to prevent it. 

Also, it is important to educate Family Members about suicide and depression because these topics are usually misunderstood and are considered taboo within our society. Mental illness is frequently viewed as one’s personality due to existing public stigma.

In cognizant of September as Army Suicide Prevention Month, we extend an invitation to different prevention training classes towards one strong healthy Army community:

• Financial Planning Class from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, at the Education Center

• Shoulder-to-Shoulder Class from 10 to 11 a.m., and 1 to 2 p.m., Sept. 8, at building 1286, room 167. There are two sessions to choose from.

• Scream Free Parenting Class from noon to 2 p.m., Sept. 10, at ACS, building 82

• Love without Hurt Boot Camp from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 10, at ACS, building 87. This is a three-day event.

• Love Beyond Words from 9 to 11:30 a.m., Sept. 15, at the Education Center.

• ASIST Training from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 16-17, at building 201C on Fort Stewart; and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 29-30 in building 1283 at Hunter Army Airfield.

• Veterans Administration Suicide Prevention from noon to 1:30 p.m., Sept. 18, at Moon Theater.

For more information, call 912-767-7373.

Editor’s Note: Genoveva Heck, M.Ed/Counseling, is the suicide prevention program manager for Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.