U.S. Army Europe holds a Suicide Prevention Stand-Down

September 21, 2012

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

Keeping heroes active
U.S. Army Europe Commanding General and Senior Enlisted Advisor, Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling and Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, discuss suicide prevention and resources available during AFN Europe call-in show held in observance of USAREUR Suicide Prevention Standdown Day, Sept. 20.

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Soldiers, civilians and family members from across U.S. Army Europe participated in Suicide Prevention Stand-Down Day, Sept. 20, to focus on promoting good health, teammate involvement, risk reduction and resilience training.

“This is a day that starts something new,” said Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, USAREUR commander. “The Army has had a significant challenge in [preventing suicides] the last couple of years, and it is not just the Army but society as a whole.”

The theme for the stand-down day was “Shoulder to Shoulder, We Stand up for Life.” Activities throughout the day focused on well-being, resilience, stigma reduction, and education about suicide prevention resources.

“I think we not only have the capability to address the issue in the Army, but we can do so better than the rest of society because of the leaders who care,” Hertling said. “All of this is just flat out caring. If someone is hurting, it’s the ability to reach out to them and say, ‘hey, everything okay?”

Programs like ACE -- Ask, Care, Escort -- teach skills on how to intervene, and the questions to ask to get Soldiers the help they need. The key is to have the courage to intervene.

“Our NCOs are the ones with the most interaction with Soldiers, especially at the team leader, squad leader level,” said Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, USAREUR senior enlisted advisor. “I think that’s where we are going to have the most success if we can get leaders to understand their role in identifying the problem, getting our Soldiers to get help and reducing the stigma behind seeking help.”

USAREUR is committed to ensuring all Soldiers, family members and civilians have access to the training and resources needed to stay resilient. Our leadership remains committed to aggressively seeking methods to better identify and reduce high-risk behaviors, providing help and ultimately eliminating suicides within the ranks.

Soldiers are encouraged to ask for help and to recognize that it is okay to come forward for help without repercussion.

For more information about suicide awareness visit the suicide prevention Web site.

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia and has unparalleled capability to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, if necessary, win decisively. The relationships we build during more than 1000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships, and enhance global security.