Suicide is an enemy the Army will fight & defeat

September  26, 2012

The US Army is attacking an old enemy with new tactics. Tomorrow, it will hold an Army-wide "Suicide Stand Down." And on Arsenal Island in the Quad Cities, both soldiers and civilians will participate. 

Chaplain Chuck Rizer, from the Army Sustainment Command, says two memorial walks will be held for employees, soldiers, and officers to remember loved ones who committed suicide. In addition, counselors from the Employee Assistance Program will set up information tables in the three cafeterias. They'll tell workers about resources available for depression, stress, substance abuse, family counseling, and other issues.

And the over-arching theme is hope. Rizer says, "Senior leaders say suicide is one of the worst enemies we've faced. And it's an enemy we will fight and win because each life is precious to us."

Since last winter, the chaplain has taught 30 suicide prevention classes. He shows videos that feature people talking about trying to kill themselves, or how the suicide of a friend or relative affected them.  Rizer says research shows certain factors, such as the loss of a relationship, contribute to depression and may lead to suicide. "We don't know when it may happen, but we do know once a person makes the decision, they try to do it within ten minutes. So it's important to act quickly." 

Chaplain Rizer says the Suicide Stand Down is only the first phase of the Army's prevention plan. Phase two will continue all year with more classes and training programs.

Arsenal Island's first memorial walk will be held at 6:30 tomorrow morning, and the second begins at noon.

First Army, which is also based on Arsenal Island, will hold suicide awareness events next week.