Health & Safety

September 27, 2012

NTC and Fort Irwin Stand Down for Suicide Prevention

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Michael Duncan
Suicide Prevention Program Manager Army Substance Abuse Program NTC and Fort Irwin

The National Training Center and Fort Irwin conducted it’s “Stand Down” in support of suicide prevention, Sept. 18. Today, Soldiers from all other installations and serving around the world, will be “Standing Down” to participate in the suicide prevention campaign.

The National Training Center and Fort Irwin welcomed acclaimed author and speaker Beverly Cobain during keynote presentations of the Suicide Prevention Stand Down at Freedom Fitness Center, Sept. 18.

Cobain is the founder and director of “Living Matters,” a web-based resource for those who care about and care for depressed and suicidal youth. She is a psychiatric nurse and author of two books, “When Nothing Matters Anymore: A Survival Guide for Depressed Teens” and “Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families of Suicide.” She is also a survivor of three family suicides including that of her cousin Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the band Nirvana, who killed himself in 1994.

Cobain delivered four presentations throughout the day to standing room only audiences of Soldiers, Family members and civilian employees. She spoke from her professional and personal points of view, including critical information about suicide statistics, causes, risk factors, signs and symptoms. She also shared her simple intervention technique, which can be used to save lives. She concluded each presentation by encouraging and receiving personal testimonials from each audience.
Special guest Ed Colley, a Gold Star Family member and mentor for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, shared his story of resiliency after his son, Pfc.

Stephen Colley, died by suicide in 2007. As a retired captain in the U.S. Air Force, Colley presented many details in his single mission for the day – the mission of prevention. It is a mission for which he asked all in attendance for their help, placing poignant emphasis on preventing mental health deterioration that can lead to suicide.

In addition to the keynote presentations, a variety of concurrent activities were conducted throughout the day at the unit level that focused on suicide prevention awareness and training. Chaplains and Military and Family Life Consultants addressed failed or toxic relationships. Master Resilience Trainers conducted Resiliency Training, and Command Financial NCO’s addressed financial issues. Soldiers were introduced to and completed the new Army Soldier and Leader Risk Reduction Tool and guide, which is serving to shape leader-led discussions and subsequent training.

In addition to the stand down and unit events, other suicide awareness activities were planned throughout September, which included: Peer-to-Peer Workshops sponsored by the Directorate of Emergency Services; a special chapel service sponsored by the Religious Support Office, and information tables at the Exchange, Commissary, Dining Facility, and Strike Zone Bowling Center. A special Suicide Prevention Month webpage, “I CAN… A Campaign for Life Awareness” was established by the Fort Irwin Garrison Community Information Manager and Webmaster that explains more at: http://www.irwin.army.mil/Pages/LifeAwareness.aspx.

Considering the themes for this year’s Army Suicide Prevention Month, “Shoulder to Shoulder, A Healthy Force is a Ready Force” and Stand Down, “Shoulder to Shoulder, We Stand Up for Life”, the NTC and Fort Irwin Community will continue to provide a holistic approach to ensure and promote access to its quality physical, behavioral and spiritual care in our commitment to reversing the trend of the Army’s increasing suicidal behavior.

Campaign for Life Awareness” was established by the Fort Irwin Garrison Community Information Manager and Webmaster that explains more at: http://www.irwin.army.mil/Pages/LifeAwareness.aspx.
Considering the themes for this year’s Army Suicide Prevention Month, “Shoulder to Shoulder, A Healthy Force is a Ready Force” and Stand Down, “Shoulder to Shoulder, We Stand Up for Life”, the NTC and Fort Irwin Community will continue to provide a holistic approach to ensure and promote access to its quality physical, behavioral and spiritual care in our commitment to reversing the trend of the Army’s increasing suicidal behavior.




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