Storytellers: Bringing light to suicide awareness, prevention

U.S. Air Force Capt. Ryan Miccio, 603rd Air Operations Center Future Operations Division Multidomain strategic center planner, shares past experiences dealing with mental illness during the Storytellers event at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 26, 2022. The Storytellers event focused on personal stories and highlighted various resources to support members who might be struggling with mental health. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Edgar Grimaldo)

Members from the Kaiserslautern Military Community attended a Storytellers event, hosted by the 86th Airlift Wing Integrated Resiliency Office at Ramstein Air Base, Sep. 26.

The Storytellers event at Ramstein is held every September during Suicide Prevention month. Guest speakers shared experiences about something they either witnessed or traumatic events they have been through that led to a downfall in their mental health. The intent was to create an environment where the speakers and audience members were vulnerable together to create a dialogue about mental health and resiliency.

“It’s important that people have discussions and openly communicate about mental health and remove the bias that surrounds it,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Ryan Miccio, 603rd Air Operations Center Future Operations Division multidomain strategic center planner.

The Storytellers event was created to encourage Airmen to share stories and watch them change lives, which happens at bases across the entire Air Force. Two speakers spoke at the Ramstein event about their encounters with mental illness and shared the importance of encouraging open discussions.

In the work environment and military day-to-day, it is important to develop and build a sense of community to identify the signs that can lead to saving a life, said Miccio. It’s important to build those friendships and bonds that set the baseline of what’s normal before you can identify when someone is acting out of the ordinary.

“You are never truly alone in life,” said Dan Miller, retired U.S. Marine Corps sergeant major. “There are people whom you might not know personally who care about your life. There are people in your life that you must give a chance to help you when things seem to be so overwhelming that you feel nothing can help.

“Suicide is not just an individual act; it is something that affects many. If you need help just ask and you will receive.”

Additional resources include your respective first sergeant, chaplains from the Northside Chapel at DSN: 480-6148, Southside Chapel DSN: 480-5753, Vogelweh Chapel DSN: 486-6859.

Furthermore, Airmen can also access additional resources at