When Gen. James McConville became the Chief of Staff of the Army, he said his No. 1 priority is people. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall showed this Sept. 19 during a suicide awareness walk.
September is the nation’s Suicide Prevention Month when individuals and organizations discuss how to prevent suicide and provide help for those who have considered suicide.
Approximately one to three active duty service members die by suicide each day, and approximately 20 veterans die by suicide each day.
Navy Cmdr. Jeff Showalter, chief of behavioral health services at Andrew Rader Clinic, led a suicide awareness walk on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Sept. 19 where walk participants heard information about suicide and how to communicate with someone who may be thinking of taking their life.
“We collectively strive to reduce stigma and provide guidance for helping those in need,” Showalter said. “One hundred and twenty-three Americans die from suicide every day, approximately 22 of those suicides are individuals who have or are currently serving.”
Staff Sgt. Arianna Quinones, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the behavioral health clinic, participated in the walk.
“I came out to show support and awareness for suicide and to emphasize the importance of being there, being helpful and being aware of any signs of suicide,” said Quinones.
She also said she wants people to realize suicide can happen to anybody.
“Suicide doesn’t discriminate,” Quinones said.
Navy Cmdr. Anthony Benjamin of the United States Public Health Service said he came to the walk for awareness because he knows there is a stigma around mental health, depression and suicide.
“There is help out there and we want to reach as many people as possible,” Benjamin said. “I think these walks are a great forum and format to do so. I have been personally affected by suicide by associates and friends. I would like to make sure those people who are struggling get the help that they need.”
Pentagram Staff Writer Katrina Wilson can be reached at email@example.com.