Fort Gordon observes Suicide Prevention Week - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Fort Gordon observes Suicide Prevention Week

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Fort Gordon (WFXG) - "I know people went through it, but I didn't think I would actually experience it first-hand," said Private Steven Ellison, a soldier at Fort Gordon.

Private Ellison remembers when he was put on suicide watch for one of his battle buddies.

"We had to be up and throughout the night watching him," Private Ellison said. "He would say certain things like he couldn't take it anymore, that he wanted to quit, and that he was probably going to hurt himself."

Now Private Ellison is actually getting training to help in situations like that, here at Fort Gordon's Suicide Prevention Week. All this week soldiers participate in a series of activities and programs that may help them save a life.

"Among soldiers it's very serious," said Dana Baldwin, program manager of Fort Gordon's Suicide Prevention. "It's something that our leaders at Fort Gordon take very seriously. They're putting out training from the top down."

Men and women of all ranks learn how to spot signs of suicidal behavior; what has proved to be an effective tool in reducing the second leading cause of military deaths.

"Yes, I have several completed events in my career," said Chaplain Jim Watson. "I've had to deal with the aftermath of that, which makes you all the more determined to make sure we prevent it early on."

And these soldiers are learning how to prevent suicides early on in their military careers. Just five months in, Private Ellison already understands the importance of protecting his battle buddies.

"It pretty much opened my eyes that some people do crack under pressure and things are more difficult and you do have to help people out at times like that," Private Ellison said.

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