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Posted: August 3, 2018 11:51 a.m.
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Suicide Prevention Program Managers offers new tools


Pam Budda, IMCOM R2/ASAP division chief (first row standing, fourth from left), and Alex Rivera, HQ DA G1 ARD (first row standing, far right), join the inaugural Suicide Prevention Program Managers course staff and attendees.

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Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas -- Headquarter Installation Management Command's Ready and Resilient and Army Substance Abuse Program executed the inaugural Suicide Prevention Program Managers course July 16-19 at JBSA. 

As the Army continues to combat the complex and challenging issue of suicide prevention within its formations, U.S. Army Installation Management Command is charged with execution of the suicide prevention program across the Army enterprise. 

The SPPM course provided dynamic and innovative training supported by academic disciplines to 21 IMCOM garrison SPPMs designed to facilitate their work when they return to their garrisons to effectively serve Soldiers, Army civilians and Family members. The training provided information on a variety of topics such as Army suicide trends and data analysis, suicide prevention through community networking, and ready and resiliency program initiatives.

Guest speakers included representatives from the U.S. Army Public Health Center, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Columbia Lighthouse Project. The course also included a presentation on ENGAGE by Fort Hood Master Resiliency Training contractors. HQ DA G1 ARD has identified ENGAGE as the primary tool moving forward to address the preventative training needs of the Army for substance abuse and suicide prevention. 

Attendees of the SPPM course had tenures ranging from 12 months to nine years. The more senior and seasoned SPPMs attending the course were also guest presenters, sharing their knowledge, skills and experience. 

Course attendees represented the following Army installations: Camp Zama, Fort Benning, Fort Bliss, Fort Campbell, Fort Carson, Fort Drum, Fort Hood, Fort Jackson, Fort Knox, Fort Riley, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Presidio of Monterey, Schofield Barracks, USAG Bavaria, USAG Casey, USAG Daegu and USAG Rheinland-Pfalz.

Guest speakers/best practices from seasoned SPPMs included: 

Derek Ferrell, HQ IMCOM, SPPM, presented the program overview, SPPM responsibilities, suicide prevention training, SPPM reporting, program execution, and understanding the Suicide Response Team and the Suicide Prevention Task Force. 

Adam Lesser of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia Lighthouse Project, gave a presentation on the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS).

Aimee Johnson, Veterans Affairs, spoke on programs and services within the VA which could lead to SPPM collaboration opportunities.

Eren Y. Watkins, APHC, delivered a presentation on suicide data analysis and APHC ability to assist with suicide data for the SPPMs.

John Wills, DHS, presented on the Department of Defense Suicide Event Report (DoDSER).

Additional speakers included Corey Fitzgerald, APHC; Holley Robles, San Antonio Independent School District; David Easterling, Fort Riley; Sharon Sutton, Fort Hood; Kenya King, Fort Hood; Mathew Younger, Fort Campbell; Yancy Chandler, USAG Rhineland-Pfalz; and Kimberly Garcia, Vogel Resiliency Center.

The SPPM course provided program information, techniques, strategies and tools designed to significantly enhance and assist SPPMs in executing the suicide prevention function at the garrison level. The course was centered on making the program more prevention focused. It also armed attendees with some "ready-made" tools and techniques to assist with achieving "quick wins" in the areas of suicide prevention, program focus and marketing, training, needs assessments, high-performing Suicide Prevention Task Force (SPTF) and Suicide Response Teams (SRT).

Overall, the SPPM course was well received, with comments such as, "Best course I have attended in nine years," "Best course I have ever attended," "This course should be mandatory for all SPPMs and ASAP specialists" and "This course far exceeded all my expectations."

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