Soldiers find ways to help with suicide prevention

Happiness Matters, an interactive venue, increases prevention awareness

Staff and volunteers of USO Fort Riley hosted Army Community Services and Suicide Prevention for a suicide prevention awareness month event, Happiness Matters Sept. 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Therefore, Carolyn Tolliver-Lee, Family Advocacy Program lead with ACS paired up with David Easterling, Suicide Prevention Program Manager, to create an inviting, stress-free event to educate Soldiers on suicidal tendency.

Based on the audience at USO Fort Riley during lunch, Tolliver-Lee and Easterling planned the event, Happiness Matters, to be interactive.

“We decided to do something differ¬ent than a PowerPoint,” Tolliver-Lee said. “As you can see the Soldiers enjoyed it.”

Each contestant spun a color wheel for a chance to win a prize. To win a prize, one must correctly answer a question. Each color had predeter¬mined questions assigned to it. The event went through more than a dozen questions over the course of lunch.

Some questions identified early signs of depression and offered information on how to help Soldiers deal with stress, while other questions put to rest some myths with the support of statistics.

The goal of the event is to be ahead of the problem, Easterling said.

As another layer of prevention, Fort Riley requires all Soldiers and civilians to complete Ask, Care Escort training.

The ACE training is “Care for your body, talk to them, allow them tell their story and escort them to secondary care,” Easterling said. “This event pairs nicely with the ACE training.”

It is defined by the Army as an Army-approved suicide prevention and awareness training model.

The key training objective is awareness training — risk factors and warning signs.

Join USO Fort Riley as they host ACS Sept. 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for suicide prevention bingo.

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