TLR Airmen lead suicide prevention initiative

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Isabell A. Nutt
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The Violence Prevention Execution and Resiliency (ViPER) Team and Little Rock AFB Fire Department recently led the Get Safe Project, an initiative that promotes change in the culture of mental health and suicide prevention through the Suicide Awareness Fire Edition (SAFE) patch at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, September 2023.

Throughout September, the patch was distributed to Team Little Rock Airmen across the installation and authorized for wear as a uniform accoutrement, replacing the squadron patch, in honor of Suicide Prevention Month.

In a memorandum recently signed by Col. Denny Davies, 19th Airlift Wing and installation commander, uniformed service members of the 19th AW are authorized to wear the patch the entire month of September in recognition of Suicide Prevention Month, for the first week of October as part of Fire Prevention week, and year-round every Friday.

Davies stated in the memorandum that the “wear of the patch promotes change in the culture of mental health and suicide prevention. In 2021, we lost 328 DoD Uniformed Service Members to suicide. The DoD fire community has always been a leader in change and implementation. As such, the patch was designed by members assigned to the fire academy to bring other communities, agencies, and entities into the effort to combat suicide in hopes of effecting wide-spread cultural change.”

Led by the DoD Fire Academy, Goodfellow AFB, and supported by the Air Force Civil Engineer community, the creation of the SAFE patch relies on inclusion, strength, and support in numbers. The patch also symbolizes the willingness and identification of being an approachable listener who cares.

“Symbols of the design include the semi colon, signifying the importance of your story and that your story is not finished,” said Chief Master Sgt. Phillip Winkelmann, Fire and Emergency Services career field manager. “The heartbeat highlights the importance of life. However, the most important part of the Suicide Awareness patch is the key phrase, ‘No One Fights Alone’. Whenever you find yourself in that dark place, look for my hand as I have once been there.”

Please remember the following resources are always available to support you:
For military: The Military Crisis Line is available at all hours at 1-800-273-8255, press 1, or access online chat by texting 838255
For civilians: The Employee Assistance Program is also available for civilian employees at 1-866-580-9078
For military and civilians: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

For a list services and resources available to members of our military community, visit our "We Care" guide here: