• Suicide prevention focus of training, resources

    • email print
  • Christopher Burnett | Staff Writer
    September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and Fort Leavenworth is raising awareness through on-going programs, community events and educational activities.
    Employee Assistance Program and Army Substance Abuse Program Specialist Elizabeth Everette said there are also many resources available to provide awareness training.
    “Fort Leavenworth is proactive about keeping suicide prevention awareness part of the fabric of training throughout the year with informational displays at various locations in the community,” Everette said. “We serve as a resource for units, provide literature to community members and do things like the on-site displays at places like the Exchange. It’s about engaging individuals in conversation to help potentially connect them with a resource if needed.”
    Kevin Wharton, Army Substance Abuse Program prevention coordinator, said key to the Army’s suicide prevention program is the skills-based intervention course Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, also known as ASIST. He said ASIST is a suicide intervention program developed by LivingWorks Education, a professional suicide intervention training company.
    “Training everyone in suicide intervention develops the practical skills used to safely linking people with resources for ongoing help,” Wharton said. “ASIST training is taught Armywide to those individuals most likely to come in contact with someone at risk for suicide.”
    Wharton said Army Regulation 600-63, “Health Promotion,” refers to these people as gatekeepers. He said gatekeepers include first responders, counselors, chaplains, chaplain assistants, financial aid specialists, family advocacy personnel and first-line supervisors or leaders.
    “Training helps all individuals understand what to do when confronted with suicide ideation warning signs or other suicide risk factors,” Wharton said. “Another goal of awareness is to connect people with useful proactive resources.”
    Everette said the needs of the community reflect the type of training programs put in place according to current guidance. She said the Army and Fort Leavenworth are committed to providing a climate conducive to helping those in need across the spectrum of suicide prevention awareness.
    “It’s an important issue,” Everette said. “There is commitment across the (Department of Defense) community to provide resources that make it empower us to be there for someone in need.”
    Following are local contacts and telephone numbers for assistance during duty hours and after duty:
    • Behavioral Health Social Work Services at 684-6771, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. Walk-in appointments are accepted.
    • Munson Army Health Center after-duty hours telephone is 684-6000.
    • Garrison Chaplain’s Office is available at 684-2210 on weekdays.
    • Staff duty officer telephone number is 684-4448 during duty hours and 684-4154 after duty hours.
    • Family Life Center, 684-8995.
    • Employee Assistance Professional, 684-2869 during regular duty hours.
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.
    Page 2 of 2 - In cases of emergency, always call 911.
  • Comment or view comments