JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NJ –
September is a time of healing. Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst recognized Suicide Prevention month to raise awareness on suicide prevention in continuing to improve the community’s mental health and wellness. During the month, the Suicide Prevention Awareness Office hosted various events and activities to engage the joint base community in dealing with mental stress. With the involvement of JB MDL leadership, Janis Doss, Suicide Prevention Awareness manager continues to spread the message around the community to ensure that every individual is well-informed about suicide prevention.
“The purpose of suicide prevention is to help those who may be struggling or going through challenges that may lead to acts of suicide because everyone matters to us. If we all can reach out and connect with each other, then we, as a community, will be able to help each other in preventing ourselves into having such thoughts of suicide,” said Doss. “It is a public health concern. Suicide affects everyone, both civilians and service members. Bringing up the conversation of suicide prevention sheds light for everyone to talk about this topic, without feeling a hint of hesitation or fear.”
Doss added that it was important for the joint base community to spread suicide awareness and prevention to promote the betterment of one’s mental stability. Though September is designated as the National Suicide Prevention month, she believes that everyone should show care and compassion towards each other all the time. Crista Brady-Szabo, Suicide Prevention Awareness community support coordinator, shared how her personal experiences with suicide led her to become a part of the prevention team.
“About six years ago, I volunteered for Mrs. Doss to become a green dot instructor. Suicide has impacted my family a few times, and I wanted to bring more awareness to this subject, how to seek help, and how to help other people,” said Brady-Szabo. “I wanted to help our Airmen in any way I could, but I would get too emotional to talk about suicide. When I was going through that troublesome obstacle, Janis was courageous enough to guide me through thoughtful conversations that allowed me to share my personal stories to Airmen and others, without feeling guilt nor hesitation.”
Now, Brady-Szabo works side by side with Doss, and together they are making the most of September by raising prevention awareness.
“The first event that we did was the Suicide Prevention Month declaration signing, an event that allowed Joint Base MDL leadership to sign their names into the declaration as an oath to promote suicide awareness and mental health to the community,” stated Doss with a smile. “The other event was a positive messaging activity that brought together Joint Base MDL leadership, staff members from Suicide Prevention Awareness center, and other participants to hold positive signs of messaging to greet the joint base community coming into the base. The goal of this activity was to ensure the enhancement of mental health and increase the level of support towards the joint base community.”
As Joint Base MDL continues to push for suicide awareness throughout the community, Doss mentioned that she became emotional due to the overwhelming amount of positive feedback she received from the community. She received e-mails, saying “Thank you,” and “You made my day.” Doss ended with this statement, “Hearing positive messages from JB MDL community really touched me to the core, and that is the main reason why I love my job so much. Whether struggling with suicide or not, people will always need care and support from others, and I will continue to support them as long as I breathe.”