|WASHINGTON, D.C. (Army News Service) — Vice Chief of
Staff of the Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III ordered an Armywide suicide
“stand down,” Sept. 27, as a way to empower leadership to prevent
further loss of life due to suicide.
The stand down is meant to familiarize all members of the Army Family
with the health promotion, risk reduction, suicide prevention, and
comprehensive Soldier and Family fitness resources available in the
The stand down also will focus on how to improve the health and
discipline of the force and reducing the stigma associated with seeking
care for behavioral-health issues.
resources focus of McCoy event
A luncheon to promote resiliency
will be held Sept. 27 at McCoy’s, building 1571. The theme for
the luncheon is “Shoulder to Shoulder, We Stand Up for Life.”
The pay-as-you-go luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. followed by
presentations from Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott,
Garrison Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Allen Raub, Suicide Prevention
Program Manager Scott Zaehler, and Licensed Clinical Social
Worker, Army Community Service Director Becky Sawyer.
The intent of the luncheon is to enhance awareness of resources
available to Soldiers, civilians and Family members and increase
Members of the entire Fort McCoy community are welcome to
The stand down was issued after Austin visited installations around
the Army and listened to Soldier feedback and suggestions, said Walter
O. Morales, chief of the Army Suicide Prevention Program.
“He realized more work was needed to address the issue of suicides in
the Army and to ensure the awareness and training momentum continues,”
The last Armywide suicide-prevention stand down took place in 2009.
During that event, Morales said, the Army used the “chain teach”
approach to push information down to Soldiers.
“For example, the Army required that specific training materials would
be used and specific training requirements met, although some
supplemental training was allowed, such as leader-led discussions,” he
This time, Morales said, the stand down will be different.
“Activities and training will be less prescriptive,” he said.
“Commanders now have the flexibility to assess the needs of their units
and customize the training and activities.”
Although the stand down is just for one day, Morales said training and
activities will be conducted throughout September, which is recognized
in the Army as Suicide Prevention Month.
Efforts likely will continue into October, particularly for the reserve
“We have so many good programs out there, but people often get lost in
the shuffle — they know there’s help available, but it’s sometimes
difficult finding out how to access it and find the appropriate points
of contact,” Morales said.
The theme this year for suicide prevention month —“A Healthy Force is a
Ready Force”—reflects the Army’s awareness that healthy people and
mission go together, Morales said.
“We’re not just worried about suicides; we’re concerned with the overall
fitness and well-being of our Soldiers, Army civilians, and Family
members,” he said. “It is especially important that leaders lead the
charge in changing the Army culture, wherever seeking help for suicide
or other issues is stigmatized.”