Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. --
The Suicide Prevention Program here at Joint Base Lewis-McChord assures suicide prevention and awareness education is provided to all Department of Defense civilians, reservists, and active-duty service members. Service members and DoD civilians across all U.S. military branches are required to take the training once a year.
"It [suicide prevention training] looks a little bit different every year but the basic tenets are the same: what are risk factors, what are some protective factors, what can we do, what are signs to look for, what are our resources?" said Jeanne Morrow, 62d Airlift Wing community support coordinator. “One of the best protective factors is strong relationships; whether that’s with our peers, our fellow Airmen, or our family. Having a healthy relationship in your life is a strong protective factor because we’re likely to reach out to that person if we’re struggling.”
Training classes are held by a program manager whose role involves identifying, implementing, and assessing evidence-based prevention programs and processes; providing leaders with available prevention and postvention tools and resources.
The program manager also promotes a culture of early help-seeking, along with managing annual suicide prevention training and wingman intervention training.
"The intent of the training classes is to hold a group discussion with 30 people or less with a trained facilitator within the unit," said Rebecca Aronson, 62d Airlift Wing suicide prevention program manager.
For Airmen whose schedule may not allow them to complete the in-person training, there is an option to checkout a virtual reality headset to complete the 40-minute training at their convenience. Currently, Air Mobility Command is the only major command to offer the option to complete this training via a virtual reality headset.
“The Suicide Prevention program is important because suicide is preventable,” said Aronson. “When we first start to notice that we’re having trouble sleeping, we’re feeling low, we want to isolate, we’re quick to anger, we’re feeling anxious or using substances to cope. Prioritize your sleep, limit processed or fast food, exercise, and find ways to manage your stress.”
According to Aronson, it is the job of leaders and supervisors to ensure their language conveys this as well as know the resources and create close, connected, and resilient environments.
“The goal is to reduce risk factors for suicide and increase protective factors,” said Aronson. “Just like our annual suicide prevention training illustrates, the most effective way to prevent suicide is to take care of ourselves by seeking help early when we first start to notice that we’re having trouble.”
To request information about the program, email McChord's Suicide Prevention program manager at email@example.com or call the community support coordinator at (253)-982-6197.
The following resources are available for support:
DoD Be There Peer Support Call and Outreach Center
Phone: (844) 357-PEER (7337)
Text: (480) 360-6188
Military Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255, Text 838255
The Military Crisis Line is also available from Europe (00800-1273-8255 or DSN 118*); Korea (0808-555-118 or DSN 118.)
Veterans Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255, press 1
Military Family Life Consultants: 253-213-4038
Primary Care Manager (PCM): 253-982-5688 option 4
Behavior Health Clinic: 253-982-3685
Military One Source: 1-800-342-9647
Employment Assistance Program: 866-580-9078
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or dial 988
Madigan Emergency Department: 253-968-1390
For all Emergencies call: 911