Misawa Airmen raise suicide prevention awareness Published Sept. 24, 2018 By Airman 1st Class Xiomara M. Martinez 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Team Misawa members attended a suicide prevention awareness recognition ceremony to show support for community members with thoughts of suicide, Sept. 14. Yearly, more than 40,000 people in the United States lose their lives to suicide. Due to this statistic, the month of September is taken to build attention and understanding of suicidal ideation signs. For suicide prevention month, Misawa AB hosted a variety of events, starting with the opening ceremony. This is the first time an initial event occurred. The campaign continued throughout the next weeks with events including painting messages of hope on rocks and free bowling. “[Teaching] suicide prevention helps people better understand factors leading to suicide,” said Capt. Mary Zander, the Misawa AB suicide prevention program manager. “It allows people an opportunity to make a commitment to prevent suicide. It also helps to heal those who have lost someone to suicide.” Staff Sgt. Elaina Pea, the 35th Surgical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of computed tomography, said that to host an event so special felt amazing. She continued by stating she came out and felt humbled by who showed support for others and the community. “Building connections and taking the opportunity to let people know they’re cared for doesn’t take much effort,” Zander said. The event was a reminder for people to remember that in times of need, there’s always a helping hand. “We want people to know that it’s okay to not to be okay,” expressed Zander. “Remind your loved ones that they’re enough regardless of what is going on in their life. There are people out there who support them and are available.” If you or someone you know needs immediate help, call the military crisis line and speak to a counselor by dialing 1-800-273-TALK and press one.