Command shares suicide prevention experience, answers questions
Photos and story by Spc. Lisa A. Cope
13th SC(E) public affairs
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Three senior leaders shared their experiences with suicide prevention and answered questions from service members during an open-forum suicide prevention meeting at the east Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center Sept. 10 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
Col. Thomas L. Anderson, the officer in charge of the 55th Medical Company Combat Stress Control, Col. Knowles Atchison, the deputy commanding officer for the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and Maj. Saul E. Cardona, the chaplain for the 13th ESC, shared their thoughts on the topic.
Individuals who have suicidal or harmful thoughts, usually exhibit behavior that signals the feelings they are experiencing, said Anderson. Giving away treasured or personal possessions and loss of interest in normal activities can be signs a person is experiencing depression or having suicidal or harmful thoughts, he said.
“Pay attention to people’s behavior,” said Anderson. “If they seem out of the ordinary, don’t be afraid to question them. The more you talk about it, the less likely it is to occur.”
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bryan L. Hudson, the officer in charge of supply and services for the 13th SC(E) and a Los Angeles native, said he attended the meeting to learn more about suicide prevention and how to help his Soldiers cope with depression.
He said the open-forum style was effective, as it allowed people to open up, ask questions and express their opinions without regard to rank.
“I learned that above all we are all human beings,” said Hudson. “No matter what race, creed, color (or) background you are, we all have the same issues and we are just trying to get through life.”
Col. Knowles Atchison, deputy commanding officer of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and Maj. Saul E. Cardona, chaplain for the 13th SC(E), listen to Col. Thomas L. Anderson, the officer in charge of the 55th Medical Company Combat Stress Control, as he shares his professional experience with suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and depression.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Lisa A. Cope)