News: Ceremony held to heighten suicide awareness, prevention
Story by Bradley Wancour
FORT HOOD, Texas - Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr., III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general, joined with Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Schroeder, III Corps and Fort Hood command sergeant major, to sign the 2012 Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Proclamation at a ceremony in the corps headquarters Sept. 7.
The signing ceremony kicked off Suicide Prevention Awareness Month on Fort Hood, said Sharon Sutton, Fort Hood Suicide Prevention program manager.
“The proclamation says that we are resilient and focused on bringing down the number of suicides in our community,” Sutton said.
By signing the proclamation, the III Corps and Fort Hood command team showed their commitment to creating a resilient community that takes an active role in preventing suicides, and not just during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
“Every day should be about suicide prevention and taking care of Soldiers and Families,” Campbell said.
Fort Hood’s commanding general also emphasized the importance of suicide awareness and prevention training, saying it should not be considered routine.
“This is farthest from a check-the-box training,” he said. “We must have engagements on all levels to make sure another family doesn’t go through the tragedy of suicide.”
Campbell stressed the importance of the Suicide Prevention Program and expressed hope that the coming month will see a decrease in suicides.
“The program is important, because any loss to suicide is one too many,” Sutton said, echoing Campbell’s sentiment.
The month of September will be full of events focused around reducing the number of suicides through awareness, Sutton said.
“We have the Suicide Prevention Interactive Role Play, which is a 70-minute live performance by professional actors, who will role play risk factors and warning signs, what to do to seek out help, and how to intervene when someone might be at risk of suicide,” Sutton said.
There are also two-day training workshops scheduled this month on the installation, Sutton said, designed to arm soldiers, civilians and family members with an intervention model to aid those considering suicide.
“But the big event will be the Suicide Stand Down Day on Sept. 27,” she said. “During the stand down, there will be a live role-play scenario, as well as a panel discussion with families who have lost someone to suicide. We are looking at what we can do to make a more suicide-safe community.”
The panel discussion will focus on which programs are working and what else can be done to prevent suicide.