We are now nearing the end of our weekly focus on the 12 pillars of the Army’s Ready, Resilient, and Army Strong campaign. The focus this week — suicide prevention — is perhaps one of the most consequential topics we will discuss, considering that Fort Bragg had 18 suicides in 2012. If not for engaged and caring leaders, friends, and Family, this could have been tragically higher.

We must work to effectively promote healthy living at Fort Bragg in 2013, which can have a positive effect upon reducing suicides.

Soldiers, co-workers, teammates, suicide prevention discussions must shift to learning to live and fully enjoy and appreciate life. Get involved with those around you. Listen carefully. Invest time and compassion in others. Demonstrate genuine interest and concern for their well-being. These are simple things we all know and should do.

We must be able to recognize when those around us are exhibiting troubled behaviors and warning signs associated with suicide and not be afraid to talk openly with those who appear to be on a dangerous path. Understanding the warning signs of those who may be in a crisis that could lead to suicide include feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, sleeplessness, mood swings, feeling like there is no reason to live, experiencing intense rage or anger, engaging in risky behavior without thinking, an increase in alcohol or drug use, or withdrawing from Family or friends. If you, or someone you know, are exhibiting these signs, consider going to the appropriate resources to get professional help immediately.

Our commitment to healthy living and greater engagement with those around us must be placed at the forefront of everything we do, and can assist tremendously in preventing suicidal ideations. We must continue to remind those around us that they are not alone, and the Army is indeed a Family — a Family where people take care of each other.

There is no reason why anyone should have to work through their challenges in isolation or be concerned with being criticized for seeking help. Our objective is to optimize the quality of life and service of and for Soldiers, civilians, and their Families, so the end result is that we are ready for whatever comes our way! Help yourself, and help those around you. We need each and every one of you at Fort Bragg — Ready and Resilient!

Where to get help

Unit chain of command
  Unit chaplain
  Army Community Service — 396-8682
  Womack Army Medical Center Emergency Room — 907-6559 or 907-7568
  Behavioral Health and Social Work Services — 907-8679
  Fort Bragg’s local help line — monitored 24 hours/7 days a week at 396-HELP
  Military One Source — 800-464-8107

For other resources of assistance, call:

The National Suicide Hotline — 800-SUICIDE
  National Lifeline — 800-273-TALK

For more information on suicide prevention, visit the Army’s official suicide prevention program website at:

More information, as well as several links to helpful resources, is available on the Fort Bragg suicide prevention webpage at www.bragg.army.mil/directorates/HR/ASAP/Pages/SuicidePrevention.aspx or by calling 432-7279.