Suicide prevention workshop encourages alertness

Christina Owens, left, the Georgia area director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Ellen Behm, the AFSP’s Georgia area survivor outreach prevention manager, led a safeTALK workshop to train individuals about suicide prevention and being suicide alert. (Photo by Danielle Davis)

Christina Owens, left, the Georgia area director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Ellen Behm, the AFSP’s Georgia area survivor outreach prevention manager, led a safeTALK workshop to train individuals about suicide prevention and being suicide alert. (Photo by Danielle Davis)

By Danielle Davis, Bayonet & Saber /

“Suicide is everyone’s business,” said Christina Owens, the Georgia area director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, during a safeTALK workshop June 30 in Walker Hall.

Owens was assisted by Ellen Behm, the AFSP’s Georgia area survivor outreach prevention manager, during the workshop.
After taking care of some unresolved issues of her own, Behm felt like she should help others going through the same thing.

“I lost my father in 1991 to suicide. And then in 2013, I lost my uncle,” Behm said.

“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention focuses on four things: education, research, support and advocacy,” Behm explained.

According to Behm, the Survivor Outreach Program sends volunteers to people having suicidal thoughts or to the Family of someone who’s taken their life.

During the training, Owens and Behm explained that the safe in safeTALK stands for suicide alertness for everyone while the TALK represents tell, ask, listen and keep safe.

While individuals should confide in someone if they’re having suicidal thoughts, that is not always the case. If you believe someone is suicidal, don’t be afraid to ask.

Remember to listen to the person, and above all, keep yourself safe from harm, emotional or physical, throughout the process, explained the virtual co-trainer who assisted Owens and Behm during the safeTALK workshop. Jamisena Tarver, the Fort Benning Army Substance Abuse Program’s suicide prevention program manager, invited Owens and Behm to visit Fort Benning and conduct the training.

The safeTALK training is another tool that community members can use to help Soldiers and their Families.

“I want them to know about suicide awareness and what their resources are,” Tarver said.

This training helped me learn how to be more effective in helping other people, said Pablo Rivera Madera, a retired chaplain and lieutenant colonel.

“I think this training can benefit anyone,” said Rebecca Watkins, a community representative with Bradford Health Services.

The training will help you on how to approach someone who may be suicidal. They’ll be able to talk and listen to them, she said.

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