Minot AFB kicks off Suicide Prevention Month Efforts

Written by: Minot Air Force Base Integrated Prevention and Resilience Office

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, ND. – Minot Air Force Base is joining the Department of Defense (DOD) in promoting Suicide Prevention Month to educate the military community about suicide prevention, resources, and steps everyone can take to protect one another against suicide. Each September, the DOD observes Suicide Prevention Month to promote prevention resources across military communities and share ways to take simple action to be there for others and themselves.

Suicide Prevention Month’s campaign slogan is Connect to Protect: Support is Within Reach, highlighting the important role connections with family, friends, the community, and resources play in preventing suicide, especially in these unique and challenging times. Research indicates connectedness is a protective factor against some of the risk factors for suicide, such as loneliness or feeling like a burden.

The slogan also reinforces how everyone within reach – leaders, service members, and families – can play a role in preventing suicide.

“Suicide Prevention is an essential part of violence prevention. Suicide is of such extraordinary magnitude and importance that it consistently ranks among the 10 leading causes of death in the United States. Suicide is an urgent, complex and multifaceted public health problem. Suicide Prevention does not begin in the Emergency Room: it starts in the home, at work, in our clubs, our organizations, in our community….and it happens every day. Our connections to family, friends, community and unit are more important than ever. It’s not about ‘who you know’ but instead, ‘who knows you’. It really is all about Building Connections: we can do more and we can do better. Connect to Protect.” (Laurel Grams, Director, Prevention and Response)

Throughout September, Minot AFB will host and participate in a variety of events and activities to emphasize the importance of suicide prevention and highlight available resources. On Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023, the third annual flag planting will take place along Missile Avenue. 328 flags representing the Active Duty lives lost to suicide in 2022, will be placed on Missile Avenue just after entering the main gate.

Minot AFB resiliency groups/Units and the Prevention Office will participate in the Minot Out of the Darkness Community Walk at Oak Park, in Minot, N.D. on September 17 19, 2023 from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 20 CALM training from 1PM-4PM at the Education Center Room 212. The next day, 21 September from 9AM-11AM at the Education Center Room 212 -VA S.A.VE./Reducing Access to Lethal Means is scheduled for our spouses and family members. These classes are focusing on the education of suicide prevention and helping individuals understand the process of lowering someone’s access to lethal means of suicide.

Closing out the month, the Prevention Office is hosting a Storyteller event featuring the personal stories of two of our own. Additionally, two guest speakers are slated to present. Mr. Kevin Ortiz, an Air Force Veteran and survivor of an attempted suicide and Mr. Kevin Briggs, an Army Veteran and retired first responder who is widely known as “Guardian of the Golden Gate”. Mr. Briggs has been protecting the line between hope and despair by helping more than 200 people find a reason to keep living.

If you or someone you know are in crisis help is available:
Veterans and Military Crisis Line – 988 press 1, Text 838255 or www.veteranscrisisline.net
Duty Chaplain: 701-723-5527
Mental Health: 701-723-5527
On Base Emergency: 701-727-1911
Off Base Emergency: 911
Integrated Primary Prevention Workforce Office
183 Missile Ave (Welcome Center) – 701-723-2936

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