JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --
We fight together. It’s time we fight for each other.
After military suicide numbers reached an all-time high in 2012, the Department of Defense sought to increase awareness about suicide prevention. One of the Department’s most successful efforts is the nationwide promotion of prevention education through Suicide Prevention Month each September.
In October 2016, the Department wanted to recognize the exceptional efforts made during Suicide Prevention Month by one military installation within each of the Services and one from either Reserves or National Guard. Of the 29 submissions, the Hickam Mental Health Clinic earned the first Department of Defense Suicide Prevention Month Outreach Recognition for the Air Force.
The Defense Suicide Prevention Office director, Dr. Keita Franklin presented the key players for the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam mental health clinics with a certificate of appreciation during a ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Jan. 30.
“We have come a long way in the area of suicide prevention,” she said. “The idea that Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam was able to come up with this integrated, complex strategy that really got after the complexities of the problem is certainly distinguishable. We’re here today to offer recognition to this community.”
The Hickam clinic focused its efforts on data surveillance, program assessment, advocacy, policy oversight, and outreach and education, strategic goals that the DSPO uses to reduce the risk for suicide.
“Every Airman’s overall health and well-being is a paramount concern to everybody here,” said Col. Christopher Paige, 15th Medical Group commander. “We don’t think that we have this problem solved. That’s not what this is about. We simply want to acknowledge the everyday work by some of our key players for such a complicated issue.”
Col. Paige thanked suicide prevention program managers and community partners for working together to prevent suicide on the island, as well as their service to the Wing’s medical group.
Dr. Franklin added the importance of prevention being more than just briefings and trainings, and stressed the positive focus on simple and pure human interaction.
“When we think about suicide prevention, one of the key things that we know is that getting after suicide is not about getting after mental health alone,” she said. “What we are finding is it’s more and more complex than ever before.”
For more information about the DOD’s efforts towards the prevention of suicide, please visit www.dspo.mil.