FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Kristen Christy was awarded the 2018 Air Force Spouse of the Year and has used her new platform to promote suicide awareness and share her family's story.
"It took 12 years after my husband's suicide to find my voice, and to realize that our story could help other people," said Christy.
Her late husband committed suicide in 2008, and in her presentations she talks about the impact it has had on her family, both of her sons have struggled greatly with the loss of their father while they were young and her oldest son is currently missing and has been for over 3 years. She wants people to understand how families are impacted by suicide.
Christy encourages communities to look out for each other and notice when something may be wrong. "Notice if someone is off, notice if someone who is typically an outgoing person is having not just a bad day, we all have bad days, but is it continuing," said Christy.
Her presentations vary depending on the audience, as she speaks to spouses, airmen, and other military branches who want to hear her presentation. She wants those who are in a dark place to know people care about them and value them in their lives. "If we can give pause by our story to someone who is in the deep dark depths of depression, and think that life would be better without them, we want them to know that it won't be," said Christy.
She has been working with Air Force officials to look at cases of suicide to see how they can better develop suicide prevention programs, "...to see if there's a thread of something in there, that will help us find the perfect program, and I'll tell you there's no perfect program, but the more resources we have, people can pick and choose."
Resources at Eielson AFB:
Mental Health Office: 907-377-3071
Base Chapel: 907-377-2130
Airman and Family Readiness Center: 907-377-2178
Air Force Wide Resources:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
Military OneSource 1-800-342-9647