Health & Safety

April 12, 2012

Suicide intervention training comes to Fort Irwin

By Caroline Keyser
Warrior editor
Photo by Caroline Keyser
Participants in the ACE-SI suicide intervention training listen as James Cartwright, one of the designers of the Army’s ACE suicide prevention program, speaks during a workshop April 5 at Fort Irwin’s Education Center annex.

Leaders at Fort Irwin got a chance to learn how to better serve those they lead last week.

On April 2, 3, and 5, Walter Morales, chief of the Army’s suicide prevention program, and James Cartwright, designer of the Army’s ACE program, visited Fort Irwin to conduct ACE-SI training workshops.  ACE, which stands for Ask, Care, Escort, has been one of the Army’s premier suicide prevention programs since it launched in 2008.  ACE-SI, which stands for Ask, Care, Escort-Suicide Intervention, is a suicide intervention program for junior leaders and first-line supervisors that builds on the skills promoted in ACE by going into more detail and by aiming to raise leaders’ comfort levels with intervening with a suicidal person.  It was the first time Fort Irwin has hosted the ACE-SI training.

“(Suicide) is an issue that cuts across all segments of the population,” Morales said.  “We’re trying to reach those folks with the most impact on Soldiers and civilians — our sergeants, team leaders, and supervisors.  Our intent is for people to take this training back to their office.”

More than 170 people attended the four-hour workshop, which teaches participants about the steps to take when intervening with a person contemplating suicide and the resources available to help.  Participants also take part in role-playing and discussing their personal experiences with suicide.

“There is a taboo to suicide,” Morales said.  “When a person commits suicide, their friends or family members don’t necessarily want to tell others what happened.  This workshop gets people to talk about it freely and openly.”

While ACE-SI doesn’t train participants to counsel those considering suicide, it does train them to act as a first line of defense and to effectively lead the person in need to appropriate resources.

Michael Duncan, Fort Irwin’s suicide prevention program manager, said that having the ACE-SI training at Fort Irwin will benefit the community.  He added that family members of Soldiers are also welcome to attend suicide prevention training.  According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is currently the third-leading cause of death among children ages 10-24.

“We’re absolutely glad to have this here at Fort Irwin,” he said.  “Just having that community approach to training programs is going to help.”


Suicide prevention resources


U.S. Army suicide prevention website:


Suicide Prevention Lifeline/Military Crisis Line/Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)


Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline: 1-800-984-8523


Military OneSource: 1-800-342-9647


Emergency Service:  911


Weed Army Community Hospital Emergency Room:  380-3114


Fort Irwin Military Police: 380-3405


Fort Irwin On-Call Chaplain: 760-646-4212


Non-emergency resources:


Center Chapel:  380-3562


Family Life Chaplain:  380-4664/3421


Military & Family Life Consultants:  760-550-4451


Behavioral Health:  380-3631


Employee Assistance Program:  380-9092


Suicide Prevention Program:  380-9446


Risk Reduction Program:  380-4983 


Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS): 1-800-959-8277


Vet-to-Vet Peer Counselors:  1-877-838-2838


“Coaching Into Care”: 1-888-823-7458  


(a Department of Veterans Affairs national clinical service providing information and help to Veterans and the loved ones who are concerned about them)


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