At least 10,000 soldiers and civilians on Fort Sill participated in an Army-wide suicide prevention stand-down day ordered by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno on Thursday.
"I cannot overemphasize how important this issue is to me. Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy to our families, to our units and to our army," Odierno said.
"We must work together to create a culture and an environment where people feel comfortable getting the behavioral health assistance that they need," he said.
Offices were deserted across post as personnel took time out to attend breakout sessions. Originally, the Army Substance Abuse Program had planned to replicate field training by having five resiliency stations outdoors on the 3-Mile Track, but heavy rains forced all of the training indoors, according to Jay Khalifeh, program manager.
The Army campaign is called "Shoulder to Shoulder" to show that "we're all in this together," Khalifeh said.
"Whether we're military or civilian, we all need to be lookcivilian, we all need to be looking out for our brothers and sisters and keep them safe, especially when we know them well and we know something's awry and they're not acting like they normally would," he said.
Participants listened to speakers, engaged in discussion, watched videos and even did some role-playing to learn what to do if a colleague appears to be a suicide risk.