September in Germany has always been a favorite month for many in the KMC. Events such as the Bad Duerkheim Wurstmarkt and the Bernkastel-Kues wine festival hold a place in many people’s hearts long after they leave.
However, September is not only about having great adventures; it is also a time to address a topic that most of us should talk more openly about: suicide.
September is Suicide Prevention Month, and according to a 2013 report by Veteran Affairs, at least 22 veterans commit suicide every 65 minutes. It is a problem that we must continue to address.
Suicide and depression not only affect active-duty military, but affects Department of Defense employees, civilians and spouses as well. Most people have known at least one other person to have struggled with emotional issues and stress, and many have, unfortunately, known someone who has taken their own life.
To raise awareness of suicide this year, a number of events will be happening around the KMC during the month of September.
On Sept. 10, World Suicide Prevention Day, a panel discussion will be held at the chapel on Baumholder.
A Ready and Resilient Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Ramstein Base Exchange. It is a multi-branch gathering of more than 30 organizations from across the KMC. Amongst several other support agencies, here are a few that will be represented:
Military One Source: A free service provided by the DOD for service members and their families to help with a broad range of concerns including money management, spouse employment and education, parenting and child care, relocation, deployment, reunion, relationships, grief and the particular concerns of those who have family members with special needs. Military members can call 1-800-342-9647 or 1-703-253-7599.
Military Family Life Consultants: MFLCs provide short term, situational, problem-solving counseling and services to service members and their families. Service providers are licensed clinical counselors, and services are confidential and private with no records kept. MFLCs are mandated reporters of child abuse, domestic abuse and duty-to-warn situations. A Ramstein MFLC can be reached at 0152-242-11233 and Army members can call 0170-369-3292 or 0175-792-3332.
Better Opportunities for Single Service members Program: The mission of the BOSS program is to enhance the morale and welfare of single Soldiers, increase retention and sustain combat readiness. BOSS is the collective voice of single Soldiers through the chain of command, which serves as a tool for commanders to gauge the morale of single Soldiers regarding quality-of-life issues. Additionally, BOSS also sponsors a variety of activities before, during and after deployment to maintain the morale of single Soldiers affected by increased operation tempo and deployment stress. BOSS provides monthly volunteer opportunities. The benefits of volunteering with BOSS include gaining promotion points, meeting new people, discounted or free trips, rewarding experiences and the opportunity to give back to the community.
An Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training course will be offered at 8 a.m. Sept. 17 and 18. at the Baumholder Chapel. Prior registration is required.
You can support your local military community by participating in the Suicide Awareness 5K at 8 a.m. Sept. 26 at the Ramstein Southside Fitness Center.
Bring your co-workers, spouse and friends to one or all the events this year and show your support. Remember, a suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the Suicide Prevention and Crisis Hotline in Europe at 00800-1273-TALK.