Story and photos by Bryan Gatchell, USAG Ansbach Public Affairs
ANSBACH, Germany (Sept. 22, 2016) – As part of September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach’s Army Substance Abuse Program hosted a three-kilometer run / walk at Urlas Community here Wednesday.
Gary Deasy, suicide prevention program manager at ASAP, spoke to the gathered runners about the resources available to them to combat suicide, including the trained on-post personnel: himself, chaplains, embedded military Family life consultants, master resilience trainers, and behavioral health specialists.
Deasy also said that beyond making people aware of resources, it was a call for community members to look out for one another.
“We hope to refresh in [the runners’] minds that everyone can have hardships, so everybody’s in need,” said Deasy.
Col. Christopher Waters, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade commander, spoke to the crowd and emphasized the importance of prevention.
“You want to do things to prevent it from happening, not manage it after it happened,” said Waters. “No matter what your troubles are in life, if you are emotionally sound, physically fit, mentally sharp and you believe in something bigger than yourself, you’re going to be able to handle adversity. A big part of that is fitness, nutrition and sleep.”
As part of physical health, Waters also touched upon the subject of substance abuse.
“Don’t put chemicals in your body – cigarettes, drugs, even alcohol,” said Waters. “Alcohol is a depressant. It alters the way you think.”
Waters also talked about the social aspect of suicide prevention.
“If every single one of us takes care of our mates and our squad, we don’t have a problem,” said Waters. “It is not offensive to ask somebody if they’re doing OK.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Derek R. Cuvellier, USAG Ansbach command sergeant major, also spoke.
“The Army and this garrison have great programs and resources, dedicated professionals with the skillsets and experience to handle any situation,” said Cuvellier. “No problem is too big that the right attention, care and counseling can’t address and fix.”
“Suicide prevention is all about taking care of the other person and being there for them when they need it,” said Michael Noyes, alcohol and drug control officer for ASAP, who was also at the event. “You’re never alone.”
Patricia Wilson, Amy RedCloud, and Eboni Bright sang before the run.
The run followed a course from the Urlas Exchange Mall parking lot around Army Lodging, into Urlas housing and then back to the mall where the USAG Ansbach Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program and ASAP handed out promotional material. American Legion – Ansbach Post 1982 handed out water, and Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers talked to Soldiers about their programs to connect Soldiers to each other and to the community.
For more on suicide prevention, including the USAREUR and U.S. Army websites, the Military Crisis Line, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, visit www.ansbach.army.mil/DirectoryS.html#Suicide_Prevention_and_Awareness.
For photos from the event, visit www.flickr.com/photos/usagansbachphotos/albums/72157672965136030.
For local emergency resources, visit www.ansbach.army.mil/EmergencyNumbers.html or http://ansbachhometownherald.com/emergency-numbers.