News: Army Reserve suicide-prevention expert serves on HBO panel
Story by Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris
NEW YORK - The Army Reserve’s 99th Regional Support Command participated in a screening of the new HBO documentary, “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” April 15 at HBO headquarters in New York City.
Dr. Paul Wade, suicide prevention program manager for the 99th RSC, served on a panel of suicide-prevention experts following the 40-minute documentary’s premiere.
“Our effort in the 99th is trying to bridge that gap (between a Reserve Soldier’s civilian and military life) and reach out to those soldiers to let them know that we’re a resource that they can tap into,” explained Wade, a former senior master sergeant in the Air Force. “What we do is create what we call Suicide Safer Communities where we’re all looking out for one another.”
Wade was joined by fellow panelists Dr. Loree Sutton, retired Army brigadier general and founder of Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, Jason Walter, licensed master social worker and chairman of the New York City chapter of The Soldiers Project, Rebecca Morrison, suicide survivor communications liaison for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, and Dana Perry, producer of the documentary.
Wade’s mission at the 99th RSC, which is headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., is to communicate with Soldiers and community partners throughout the command’s 13-state region to provide information and training resources on suicide prevention in order to foster Suicide Safer Communities.
The Army, through its fundamental obligation to take care of Soldiers, civilians and families, employs a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach that includes health promotion, risk reduction, prompt access to quality health care and healthy, supportive environments.
Suicide prevention is the shared responsibility of commanders, leaders, Soldiers, family members and Army civilians at all levels.
“We have created a very robust schedule of doing the applied suicide intervention skills training, and offering that to not just our Reserve Soldiers, but also to family members, community mental health agencies, local non profits, churches – those types of people who really can be part of the community for that Soldier,” Wade said.
“The other thing we’re doing is making sure that the message is getting out, so that when we teach the applied suicide intervention skills training, we’re teaching all those people in those classes about connecting with each other and recognizing the signs that somebody may be displaying when they are at a heightened risk to themselves or someone else,” Wade said.
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” spotlights the traumas endured by America’s veterans, as seen through the work of the hotline’s trained responders who provide immediate intervention and support in hopes of saving the lives of service members.
The event was co-sponsored by HBO and Army Week Association, an organization comprised of veterans, reservists, military spouses and community members whose mission it is to provide quality educational forums, events and activities to highlight the achievements, sacrifice and service of Soldiers and their families.
“We are the solution to these problems, because if we take the type of energy and passion that some of these folks (at the screening) have exhibited, and we take that on a regular basis back to our families, our communities, our churches, the places where we work,” Wade said, “then we grow this community of conscientious, empathetic, compassionate people with this great attitude toward being part of the solution.
“We then grow this thing exponentially, so we truly create Suicide Safer Communities,” he concluded.