September is Suicide Awareness, Prevention Month

  • Published
  • By Lauren Russell
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – September is Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month, and base leaders are emphasizing the importance of primary prevention against self-harm.   

Primary prevention focuses on developing connectedness amongst peers, as well as strengthening individual social, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

“It’s important to have conversations about prevention and awareness so we can break the stigmas around mental health treatment and remind people that it’s okay to seek help when they need it,” said Kristin Wright, Hanscom’s violence prevention integrator. 

Wright and other members of the Integrated Prevention team have a series of events scheduled throughout the month focused on prevention resources, including a local Resilience Week Sept. 18 through 22. 

The following events are open to all Hanscom AFB community members.

Organizers will host Hanscom Rocks Sept. 20 at the Hunt Community Center, 1998 Patterson Rd., from 1 to 3 p.m. Participants will paint messages of encouragement on rocks that will then be placed around the installation.

In addition, officials have planned an improv comedy event Sept. 21 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Minuteman Commons Heritage Room. Those interested in attending and participating should text 781-782-2525 with keyword “improv” to sign up or use the QR code.

The Integrated Prevention team, in partnership with the Hanscom AFB Defenders Council, will host a Glow Run, Walk and Ruck 5K on Sept. 22 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Chapel parking lot.

“These events all offer some kind of creative outlet that directly supports our efforts to increase mindfulness by finding ways to express ourselves,” said Wright. “There are so many benefits for everyone involved.”

Additionally, members of the Integrated Prevention team will be coordinating walk-abouts with organizations across the base to check in on members’ mental health.

Wright explained that while September brings conversations about suicide prevention and resources under the spotlight, they are relevant year-round, saying that those who can effectively manage stress are more likely to bounce back after challenging situations.

“Suicide is an issue that plagues our force, and it’s important that we bring these conversations to the forefront whenever we can, despite them being difficult and emotional,” she said.

Individuals can call 988 to connect directly to the national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for 24/7 support.