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In observance of Suicide Prevention Month, a number of activities are taking place across the installation for units and Families, culminating in a Suicide Prevention Stand Down.
Set for Sept. 27, the Stand Down is designed to educate the Fort Benning community about the causes and symptoms of suicide and identify available resources both on and off post.
This is an important event, said Denise Stephens, Suicide Prevention Program manager. The Army is taking a whole day to focus on providing training and information to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and improve resilience in the force. The theme Shoulder to Shoulder: We Stand Up for Life communicates the idea that we all have a part in preventing suicide and supporting healthy life.
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Benning Conference Center and from 1 to 5 p.m. in Marshall Auditorium at McGinnis-Wickam Hall.
We have classes on anger management, grief, nutrition, coping with redeployment, financial management, Stephens said. It really gets at the health of the force and looking at those five pillars of Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness.
Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Moore, the garrison command sergeant major, will host a panel of NCOs who will talk about their experiences in facing a variety of challenging emotional issues. Survivors of suicide will also share their stories and lessons learned.
A range of on-post and off-post organizations, from the Army Substance Abuse Program to the Pastoral Institute, will set up informational booths in the Concord Lounge of the Benning Conference Center.
With this ops tempo, sometimes we forget how many support agencies are available to us here in garrison, Stephens said. Soldiers and commanders can get things for their tool bag. If they dont need the help, eventually as leaders theyre going to run across someone who needs that information.
Stephens said the goal of the day was for everyone to stop business as usual.
When Gen. Lloyd Austin III, the (Armys) vice chief of staff, was here in July, he said it is the toughest enemy he has ever faced. The Army is dedicated to getting basic information out How do I help someone? What do I look for? What resources are available? This is a chance for everybody to see that suicide prevention is everybodys business and that all of us are capable and able to save a life.
Units planning to attend should reserve seating by calling Stephens at 706-545-5441. For more information about suicide prevention, visit www.preventsuicide.army.mil.