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Connect to Protect: Resilience tools, events to support #StrikerStrong teams during September and beyond

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. 

In an effort to help Whiteman Air Force Base Strikers help each other through adversity, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Connectedness is the No. 1 way to help people realize that they matter in this world.  How do we foster an environment of connectedness? How do we demonstrate that we care or that we feel connected to our wingmen? 

Get to know your subordinates and supervisors, your co-workers and peers on a personal level. Ask about their families and loved ones. Ask about their weekend events. Listen to what they tell you and ask a follow up question or relay something similar that you may have experienced. Relate by sharing interests you may have in common. Have a short conversation, and then follow up on what the person shared with you in a few days or a week. 

This last step really lets the person know that you were listening, and that you have an invested interest in his or her well-being. 

In the end, all it may take is a text or a phone call to someone at a critical time to save a life.  You never know if that text or call is the one you are feeling a pull to make. 

Get involved!

In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month, Team Whiteman mental health and Comprehensive Airmen Fitness teams strive to ensure that awareness of prevention tools and resources are at the forefront of our minds. You will see social media posts on Whiteman AFB social media pages, ads on the marquee signs across the base, and flyers in various high-traffic areas.

You will also see the following events during the month of September and as we Connect to Protect our fellow Airmen:

  • SafeTALK Course: Sept. 9 at 8 a.m. and Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. in the Professional Development Center
  • International Suicide Prevention Day 5K Run: Sept. 10 at 6:30 a.m.
  • Connect to Protect Gate Campaign:  Sept. 28 at 3-5 p.m.

What may not be as obvious as these annual reminders are the real-world risk factors and warning signs of someone who is struggling with suicidal ideations and/or mental health concerns.

The Defense Suicide Prevention Office website offers helpful information on risk factors and protective factors, as well as how to help someone who is in a suicidal crisis. The office also offers bulletin board materials that you are highly encouraged to post in your work center throughout the year, not just in the month of September, to keep our Airmen sharp and ready to help when needed!

Need fast and easy access to helping resources? The Striker Strong Resource Directory desktop icon on all of our computer screens at work offers users access to a list of 17 different topics, from parenting to suicidal thoughts, with a single click. These Striker Strong resources can also be found in the Whiteman USAF Connect App. Share these resources with your wingmen!

As a reminder, if you are someone you know is thinking about suicide, please reach out.

            Mental Health: 687-4341

            Chaplain: 687-3652 (After Hours: 687-3564)

            24-Hour Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

As September approaches, let’s treat each other with kindness. Care for each other.

Listen.

Learn.

CONNECT to PROTECT… Support is Within Reach!