Suicide prevention starts with you
by Col. Kevin Milton, Stewart-Hunter Garrison Commander
My fellow community members, I want to take an opportunity to share with you a story about suicide prevention; which reinforced a conviction I have that each of us can help make a difference. Each of us can help carry the message that when times seem darkest – You are not alone.
I was recently told a story of how one of our Civilian employees, who supports Soldiers but rarely has contact with them, was at work one day and received an email from a deployed Soldier who was having a difficult time. The Soldier relayed to her that he was in charge of 15 others and was worried daily about having to report one of their deaths to their Family Members.
He talked about ending his own life due to the pressures and danger s in the combat zone. She replied back asking what he needed. He asked for a Bible; which might help him carry on. She sent him the Bible and inscribed her name and the name of her church.
When the Soldier redeployed he made a point of seeking out the church and the lady who had sent him the Bible. In that church one Sunday, after redeployment, he held up the Bible she had sent him and said that she had saved him.
This woman, unknown to me, is an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. I wonder how many others she has saved just by simply doing good works that we may never hear about.
My point in telling this story is to give you an example of how we can be sensors and be on the lookout for the signs that someone we know may be suffering and in need of help, and to also share the many installation resources available to all members of the community.
Suicide prevention starts with leaders, veteran spouses of the community, and civilian leadership: You are our first line of defense against the tragedy of suicide. Leaders as you move about the community, troop the line, walk through the facilities, stop by the barracks, eat a meal in the dining establishments, or wherever members of the Army Family gather, take those opportunities to look each and every member in the eye and convey that THEY MATTER and are valued by YOU and the Army at large.
Veteran spouses, be aware of your surroundings and stand ready to assist or call someone who can assist when you suspect a problem. Encourage spouses on your team to attend the Spouse Empowerment Convention, Feb. 24 at the Main Post Chapel, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. No preregistration is necessary. Come, be empowered. You might learn something that will be beneficial to you in your family and community life.
Leaders there are a multitude of resources available to you in conducting your program. Contact the TRAINING SUPPORT CENTER 435-8070 for these valuable tools: A Leader's Guide to Suicide Prevention, Family Member Warning Sign & Risk Tip Card, Suicide Prevention Tip Cards, ACE Cards, Battle Buddy OneSource Cards, Military OneSource Cards, Suicide Prevention: Warning Signs & Risk Factors card, Leader's Suicide Prevention Manual, Shoulder to Shoulder- I will never quit on life (Video), Beyond the Front (Role Play Video), and Home Front (Role Play Video).
Leaders can also take advantage of these programs: ASIST TRAINING, ACE Intervention training (monthly 4 hour), ACE Intervention (Shoulder to Shoulder monthly 1 hour), Suicide Response Drills (monthly and upon request), Unit and FRG Presentations (upon request). Just contact the Suicide Prevention Task Force Manager for more information or to schedule, 767-5828.
You Are Not Alone! If you or someone you know is experiencing a life-threatening emergency or is attempting to commit suicide, the first response is to call 911.
There are many other programs offered at Stewart-Hunter to promote team building, communication, and to help build resiliency. These programs include financial readiness programs, Family Advocacy Programs, chaplains, and behavioral health counseling services. Let’s make sure Soldiers, DA Civilians and Family Members are aware of these programs and encourage them to take advantage of the services. Call Army Community Services at 767-5058 to get more information.
Locally, you can call for other urgent mental health concerns. Specialists are available during normal duty hours (Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.):
- Fort Stewart Behavioral Health Clinic (1083 Worcester Ave., building 9242), (912) 767-1654 or (912) 767-1647.
- Army Substance Abuse Program: (912)-767-8667.
- Fort Stewart Family Life Chaplains: (912) 767-1814.
- Mental Health Community/Military and Family Life Consultants (1083 Worcester Ave., building 9242), 912-432-8980.
- Family Support Issues/Family Readiness Center (191 Lindquist Rd., building 87), (912) 767-5058
- Hunter Army Airfield Tuttle Army Health Clinic (230 Duncan Drive, Building 1440): (912) 315-4240/6125. Call 911 during non-duty hours.
Additionally, there is an on-call Chaplain on duty 24/7. Contact the Division Operations Center at (912) 767-8667 to request chaplain assistance for yourself or for someone you believe is depressed and in danger of harming themselves.
Remember You Are Not Alone! Download this tool for quick reference.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a life-threatening emergency or is attempting to commit suicide, the first response is to call 911. For other urgent mental health concerns, specialists are available during normal duty hours (Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.):
Fort Stewart Behavioral Health Clinic (1083 Worcester Avenue, Building 9242): (912) 767-1654
Fort Stewart Family Life Chaplains: (912) 767-1814/5409
Mental Health Community/Military and Family Life Consultants: (1083 Worcester Avenue, Building 9242): (912) 767-1647
Family Support Issues/Family Readiness Center, (191 Lindquist Road, Building 87), (912) 767-5058 Hunter Army Airfield Tuttle Army Health Clinic (230
Duncan Drive, Building 1440): (912) 315-4240/6125
During non-duty hours:
Winn Army Community Emergency Room, (1061 Harmon Ave): 911
On Call Chaplain: Contact the Division Operations Center (24/7) at (912) 767-0252/0241 to request chaplain assistance for yourself or for someone you believe is depressed and in danger of harming themselves.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Website:
Army OneSource Help Line 1-800-342-9647
Army Suicide Prevention Website
VETS4WARRIORS - 1-855-838-8255 (1-855-VET-TALK)
NJ VETS2VETS - 1-866-838-7654 (1-866-VETS-NJ4)