Army observes Suicide Awareness Month in September

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Jen Zettel/Post-Crescent Media

In support of the nation’s observance of Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 7 -13, and World Suicide Prevention Day, Sept. 10, the United States Army focuses on a campaign about the importance of building resiliency and suicide awareness during the entire month of September.

The Army Resiliency Directorate has communicated that in support of this year’s campaign, the Army will amplify its Ready and Resilient (R2) messaging and call members of the force – Soldiers, Army civilians, and Family members – to “Take Action” by treating one another with dignity and respect, becoming interveners instead of bystanders, and living the Army Values daily.

On this installation, the Suicide Prevention Program will host a former National Football League player and his daughter as guest speakers in late August and early September.

Former Detroit Lions quarterback, Eric Hipple, and daughter, Tarah Hipple, are scheduled to speak at the 11 a.m. general Protestant service in the Center Chapel, Aug. 30. The two will also speak at the Freedom Fitness Center, 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m., Sept. 1 and 2. The entire Fort Irwin community is invited to hear them speak poignantly about their continued journey of recovery and suicide prevention.

A professional motivational speaker since retiring from football in 1989, Mr. Hipple’s public speaking shifted to topics of depression awareness and treatment, and to suicide prevention in 2000, after the tragic death of his 15-year-old son to suicide. Last year, he was featured as keynote speaker at the Pentagon during Suicide Awareness Month, and visited numerous Department of Defense installations world-wide.

Tarah is an avid student of social work and cognitive behavioral therapy. Her recently published book, “Tarah’s Song: Words of Survival,” is a compilation of poems about her journey from tragedy and suffering to survival.

Mr. Hipple currently serves as an outreach specialist for the University of Michigan Depression Center. His book, “Real Men Do Cry”, chronicles his life as a NFL quarterback, the time from his youth to his current position, his struggle with suicide loss, and his own depression. His story is one of hope and recovery and uses education as well as practical advice to help others live and enjoy life again.

He’s received numerous awards including: a Detroit Lions 2010 Courage House award; the 2008 Life Saver Achievement award given by the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention, and; a presidential citation by the American Psychological Association. His 10-year NFL career was spent entirely with the Detroit Lions and included two playoff bids and a divisional championship. In addition, he was named most valuable player for the 1981 season.