Kadena begins Project 22 initiative

Kadena begins Project 22 initiative

by Airman 1st Class Corey M. Pettis, 18th Wing Public Affairs
Kadena Air Base

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Kadena senior leadership is kicking off  Project 22 this week in support of September being suicide awareness month.

Project 22 is a participant-driven initiative where all of team Kadena is challenged to visit agencies around the base to raise awareness about the methods and resources of lowering the risk of suicide. On average, about 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

"The U.S. military is not a giant, inanimate, faceless machine driven by cogs and gears and pulleys, it is composed of real people with real lives, real feelings, real relationships and real problems," said Capt. Levi Cole, 18th Medical Operations Squadron. "Therefore, the Air Force and its effectiveness in accomplishing the mission is only as good as the well-being and condition of the people that it is composed of."

Kadena is home to many agencies that are designed to enhance the mental, social, physical and spiritual well-being of military service members, civilians and their families. The goal of the Project 22 initiative is to show service members and their families that it is okay to seek help and to provide awareness to the different avenues one can take to find help.

"I think Project 22  is important for this base and for all Airmen because it seeks to connect people to agencies, resources, and tools that can help enhance the overall quality of their lives, be it emotional, relational, financial or physical," said Cole. "When people feel healthier and more at peace personally, they possess a greater capacity to accomplish the tasks being asked of them, a greater fortitude to weather the challenges and stress of the mission, and greater motivation to serve in the military."

Sept. 10 is world suicide prevention day, and Project 22 helps to support the cause and protect your fellow wingmen.

"Suicide is a complex human behavior, with no single determining cause, while many have become familiar with the risk factors it is of equal importance to identify and understand the protective factors that lend to lowering the likelihood of suicidal behavior," said Lisa Velez, 18th Wing community support coordinator. "A key contributor of protective factors is connectedness to individuals, family, community, and social institutions, and Project 22 is a proactive effort to lend to that connectedness."

Starting Sept. 9 through Sept. 21, Brig. Gen. Barry Cornish, 18th Wing commander, Col. Christopher Amrhein, 18th Wing vice commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Charles Hoffman, 18th Wing command chief, will take the Project 22 challenge and visit agencies around Kadena to get signed off.

Participants will have the opportunity from Sept. 10-22 to visit these agencies and get signed off. Individuals that visit the most agencies (the goal being 22) will be entered into several drawings. Also, the unit with the most agencies visited will win an award.

To accept the challenge, just visit an agency and have them sign the flyer next to the agency's name. Then, turn the sheet into a drop-box at Kadena USO or Risner Fitness Center. You may also scan and email it to 18wg.csc.communitysupportcoordinator@us.af.mil.

Unit Participation Award and Drawing will be presented on Sept. 25 at the Risner 2.2 mile run.

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