FORT BENNING, Ga. (WRBL)– In observance of suicide awareness month, Fort Benning held its annual suicide prevention walk.
Those participating in the walk were dressed in yellow to show their support in preventing suicide within the military community. The event was hosted by Jamisena Tarver, a suicide prevention manager for Fort Benning.
Tarver told WRBL News not only do they provide resources to those in the military, but they also provide those resources to civilians and to military family members.
“The services we provide for the soldiers are basically training about knowing what are the risk factors, what are some of the protective factors that can help them minimize the risk factors. Also, let them know what are the warning signs when it comes to suicide, what to look out for,” Tarver said.
Tarver provided an example of a sign to look for.
“If you know your soldier or your family members normal routine and if they change, start acting abnormal or starting to give things that they pressure away. Talking about certain things as far as ‘ I don’t want to live’ or ‘I don’t want to be here, I just want to go to sleep and not wake up.’ Okay, you ask certain questions when you hear those phrases or if you see those things, you just ask them ‘Hey, what’s going on?'” Tarver said.
According to Military.com, 156 suicide deaths were recorded from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020., which is a 25% increase in deaths by suicide.
“The littlest thing can drive a person to suicide, and that’s what we’re trying to do, just educate everyone today about suicide awareness,” Tarver said.
Those in support of suicide awareness filled the empty parking lot and began taking pictures with the cut-out Instagram post with the hashtag “You matter, you are not alone.” Everyone dressed in yellow gathered up in big crowed and proceed to do stretches led by soldiers so they could prepare for their mile walk on post to help raise awareness.
Tarver said she believes bringing awareness makes the soldiers feel good and feel cared for.
“It makes them feel good that they know we are here for them, that’s all we are, customer service. Whatever you need, no matter what it is if it’s drug and alcohol, if it’s suicide, it’s at risk reduction program. If it’s SHARP, finances, we’re here to serve the community,” Tarver said.
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.