Prevention saves time, money and most importantly lives

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jason W. Cochran
  • 9RW/PA

Suicide is an issue that is not taken lightly within the Air Force, and as such scores of programs have been set up for suicide prevention.

One of the more unique programs out there to combat suicide is Beale’s Walking Group.

The group was set up by Angie Erickson, 9th Reconnaissance Wing violence prevention integrator. She used this same idea to great success at her last base in Alaska.

“I came from Kodiak Island, but I had at my fingertips a WalMart, a Safeway and a gas station,” said Erickson. “We are more remote here than I was on that island. When you look at our location here you can see we have challenges for first term Airmen.”

These challenges are partly the reasoning behind this program being geared towards Airmen in the dorms, Erickson said. The goal of the program is to get Airmen connected with subject matter experts that can help with whatever needs that particular Airman might have.

“They can come out walking with me, build a rapport with me, I find out what their needs are and I can connect them with the right resource,” Erickson said. “At my last base this was incredible. We were walking five nights a week, 20 miles a week, people were losing weight and their lives were improving. It was just a way to build relationships in a way that you don't normally get to during the workday.”

Throughout the whole month of September, Monday through Friday, the walking group will be at the base track from 8:00 to 9:00 P.M. for anyone in the Beale community who wants to participate.