Ask, Care, Escort; everyone has a part in suicide prevention

  • Published
  • By James Branch
  • 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
September is Suicide Prevention Month. It presents an opportunity to increase awareness on an issue that affects people, no matter the age, class, religion or gender.

Air Force leaders are committed to the well-being of their members. They take a great stance on suicide prevention and everyone has an important role to play to help those at risk.

Common risks factors for suicide include relationship problems, feelings of loss or guilt, lack of social support, stress, and substance abuse problems.

“One suicide is too many,” said Brig. General Richard Kemble, 94th Airlift Wing commander. “Be a sensor, and intervene at the lowest level if you suspect someone may do harm to themselves or others.”

The Air Force has adopted Green Dot training, an interactive bystander approach to preventing suicides. It empowers individuals recognize warning signs, understand barriers, and intervene by directing, delegating or distracting.

Lots of people exhibiting a small behavior can equal a big impact, said Tandra Hunter, 94th Airlift Wing violence prevention integrator and Green Dot Program manager.

“If you see something, say something,” she added.

Hunter states that it’s very important that leaders take the time to get to know their Airmen, and talking openly and honestly about emotional distress and suicide is ok.

“Talking will not make someone more suicidal or put the idea of suicide in their mind,” said Hunter. “If you are concerned about someone, ask them about it. The ACE method, Ask, Care, Escort, is a great way to make that connection.”

If you, or someone you know is thinking about harming themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, and press 1, or the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK, and press 1.

Please join the Violence Prevention Office Wednesday, Sept. 26, for “Chat and Chew,” an event that will provide an opportunity for individuals to speak openly about suicide and its effects on the community.