• 'Project 22' film showing March 18

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    • Suicide resources

      The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a free and confidential emotional support hotline, is available 24 hours, seven days per week, 365 days a year at (800) 273-8255. By pressing "1" caller...

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      Suicide resources

      The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a free and confidential emotional support hotline, is available 24 hours, seven days per week, 365 days a year at (800) 273-8255. By pressing "1" callers are connected to the military crisis line.



      For emergencies, dial 911. Saint Luke’s Cushing Hospital emergency room is at 711 Marshall St. in Leavenworth, 684-1144. St. John Hospital Emergency Services is at 3500 S. 4th St. in Leavenworth, 680-6100. The Veterans Affairs Health Care System is at 4101 S. 4th St. in Leavenworth, 682-2000.



      For non-emergency resources on post, contact Behavioral Health Social Work Services, open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, 684-6771/6772; Munson Army Health Center, 684-6000 after duty hours; Garrison Chaplain’s Office, 684-2210 on weekdays or the staff duty officer at 684-4448/4154 after duty hours; the Family Life Center, 684-8995 on weekdays; the Employee Assistance Program, 684-2869 during duty hours.

  • Jennifer Walleman | Staff Writer
    “Project 22” is a film directed by veterans Daniel Egbert and Matt “Doc” King that documents their 22-day, 6,500-mile motorcycle journey cross-country to raise awareness of suicide among veterans through more than 30 interviews with those who had contemplated or attempted suicide, researchers and health care providers and highlighting therapies and programs that those veterans used to find help.
    “As a soldier and as a medic, we are taught to never leave a comrade behind,” King said in an e-mail. “So Daniel and I were eager to help others as soon as we discovered how common our personal challenges were and how close and accessible hope and healing is.
    “The goal starting out was to seek and find hope for ourselves in a format that we could then share with other veterans,” he said. “We did not realize that Project 22 would resonate with many civilians and family members dealing with trauma loss and depression as well as traumatic brain injury. We also did not foresee the great extent to which this film would start conversations and bridge gaps in understanding even amongst families of veterans.”
    At 1 p.m. March 18, the Suicide Prevention Task Force, an entity of the Substance Abuse Program, will show the film at the Post Theater.
    Fort Leavenworth Suicide Prevention Program Manager Darryl Myers said he thought the film would bring a better understanding of suicide to soldiers and their families on Fort Leavenworth, which goes hand-in-hand with the “Ask, Care, Escort” prevention training.
    The evidence-based ACE intervention program teaches others to recognize suicide risk factors, and ask their peer or loved ones whether he or she is suicidal, stay with and care for him or her and eventually escort him or her to a source of professional help.
    “As I consider (families) to be the ‘gate keepers’ for our soldiers, it brings a new perspective and understanding of some of the underlying areas of concern that may impact their loved ones on a daily basis,” Myers said in an e-mail.
    The Department of Defense death-by-suicide data is updated weekly for active-duty service members. Since last updated March 6, there have been 23 Army suicides, 13 Air Force suicides, eight Marine Corps suicides and seven Navy suicides this calendar year.
    Myers quoted the Army’s Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention Report released in 2010 by saying that the Army is continuing to work to build resiliency in soldiers and families. The Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program is leading an effort to address stress on the force by promoting a positive and proactive approach to developing a resilient population capable of coping and instinctively seeking help.
    At Fort Leavenworth, Myers said the Suicide Prevention Task Force was a council established to integrate, synchronize and implement a multi-disciplinary approach to suicide prevention across all facets of the Army to provide commanders and supervisors with programs, services and resources to reduce Army suicides and suicide risk. In addition, the SPTF receives monthly and quarterly data from installation subject matter experts on high-risk behaviors or incidents, turns this data into meaningful and relevant information for measuring trends, and actionable in their response in addressing the root-causes.
    Page 2 of 2 - Myers said the film continues this education effort and is considered medicinal in nature by covering the latest therapeutic programs and research on the brain such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, equine therapy, meditation, military therapy dogs, veterans’ sailing groups and transcranial magnetic stimulation.
    “This film directly impacts those who have served, continue to serve, and those who provide a service for the military community,” Myers said. “It is relevant to the hearts and minds of those who suffer from post-traumatic stress, harness it on a daily basis and see no way out, other than death by suicide.”
    Myers said the film does a good job conveying the passion from veterans who overcame suicidal ideations to help others struggling by sharing their personal stories.
    “The touching point is the stories, interaction with strangers that have a common cause and passion to end the current statistical data reports of 22 veterans that die by suicide a day,” Myers said. “In addition, the courage, purpose, and passion for this 6,500-mile journey to be accomplished on motorcycles embodies and re-energizes our basic foundations of warrior pride.”
    More than 100 screenings of the film have taken place across the country including on military installations such as Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Fort Belvoir, Va.; Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland; and overseas in Romania, Kuwait and other countries.
    “The responses to Project 22 has been absolutely incredible,” King said. “Every single one of our screenings so far has been requested by a local community member and facilitated by friends family and supporters with in the community. ... The main feedback regarding Project 22 is the positive conversations started between husband and wives, partners, parents and children who may have never discussed their military experiences, trauma, losses, depression before. Opening up leads to understanding and healing.”
    The Suicide Prevention Task Force will air the film again for the public at 1 p.m. April 22 at the Post Theater.
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