DVIDS – News – Army Reserve commands focus on connectivity in suicide prevention to put people first

CAMP BULLIS, Texas – Entering an Army Reserve ‘Stand for Life’ suicide prevention training event, one may encounter dances, stretching exercises, podcast interviews and a good amount of collaboration going on.

One thing that is downplayed is the addiction to “Power Point” slide training where an instructor teaches and students endlessly watch a presentation.

The 85th US Army Reserve Support Command, headquartered in the Chicago area, partnered with Army Reserve psychological health program staff and the 76th Operational Response Command for the fourth prevention training event. suicide “Stand for Life”. The first SFL which took place in 2018 brought in Army Reserve soldiers and civilians from across the country to prepare them as Suicide Prevention Liaisons to train and assist their units across the Reserve of the Army.

“In this training we focus on our spiritual selves, our intellectual selves in the way I nourish my mind, our physical selves to include meditation, stretching, exercise and we get into relationships and finances. Because relationships and finances are among the leading causes of suicide, ”said Carmella Navarro, Suicide Prevention Program Manager for the 85th USARSC.

Navarro, who is also a licensed counselor, said the SFL is an evolution of training and that with a detailed training plan it continues to evolve.

“We saw the ‘deer in the headlights’ training and in this training we want to engage people and hear what they have to say,” said Navarro. “And once we started doing that, the climate for training changed.”

Throughout the three-day training program, held at Camp Bullis, Texas for its fourth iteration, training is discussed around preventative measures, response, and even discussions with the post- vention on what to do after a suicide. Stacey Feig, Army Reserve Psychological Health Program team leader, explained that collaborative efforts have taken place between the PHP and USAR suicide prevention programs to better engage in the best interests of soldiers and army family.

“Behavioral health is so crucial to this program,” Feig said. “When we work together, it creates a better safety net for our soldiers. And we want to have the same language and the same understanding so that we can deliver that consistent message to our soldiers and our commands. “

Brig. General Ernest Litynski, commanding general of the 85th USARSC, joined the conversation and spoke with attendees about his personal experiences and struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. In his remarks, he stressed that there is nothing wrong with asking for help and that the ongoing training is a force multiplier in caring for soldiers and removing the stigma associated with mental health.

“I think this is one of the best ‘connected’ learnings I’ve seen and it will improve preparation and make people ring true first,” Litynski said. “This training breaks down the human element and teaches how we can become better human beings. Whether in uniform, as a civilian (of the Department of the Army), spouse, family member, or extended community partner, it transforms and enhances the human spirit.

Tyler Montgomery, SPPM for the 76th ORC, said this topic is equivalent and as important as not leaving a battle buddy on the battlefield. He added that the military implemented the idea of ​​holistic self-care pillars to care for soldiers, and this concept has been incorporated into this training.

“There has been so much training and initiatives, but to have a program so designed to empower our liaison officers, to feel that they can actually help in a situation with the soldier is fantastic,” said Montgomery. “With Stand for Life, we are partnering with This Is My Squad. I’m not going to leave my combat mate behind. I care about what is going on in your life and will say something when I notice something is wrong.

Feig added that no matter how strong or capable a person may appear, everyone gets tired eventually. It is always possible to ask for help and if someone seems to be having trouble contact them.

“We’re not asking anyone to move mountains or solve a major life crisis, but in a moment if you realize and act in a minor way and connect, then maybe that’s what makes someone ‘one to go through this day, this hour, this two minutes, until they can see an alternative, “Feig said.

Command Sgt. Major Theodore Dewitt, Command Sergeant Major, 85th USARSC, visited Camp Bullis and conducted a podcast interview there, as well as met with the training audience to share their thoughts on the subject. He insisted that leaders connect with their soldiers, but it has to start at the most junior level. And he incorporated how the Army’s This Is My Squad initiative builds on that.

“Our people and our soldiers are our most precious resource,” said Dewitt. “This Is My Squad is all about the team, the concept of a fellow combatant. And institutionalizing that at the most junior level creates bonds between the soldiers. TIMS lets soldiers know they always have someone to turn to.

Dewitt shared stories of how he handled the loss of people to suicide and expressed his concerns over the past year over COVID-19 with a lack of connection with the soldiers.

“Without combat assemblies (in person), without in person meetings, we lost sight of what was going on in the formations. It was more important to reach out to soldiers and communicate regularly, ”Dewitt said. “I want people to leave here feeling comfortable that Stand for Life is a connection and you are part of a family.”

For Navarro and his team, they emphasized how critical the subject matter and training is, but also realized that with such a sensitive and potentially mentally exhausting issue, a sense of fun needs to be incorporated into the learning and the advancement to refuel the mind and body. .

“It’s important to have fun because it’s a serious topic and it can take a lot of energy and mental toughness,” Navarro said. “I want people to know that they can do difficult things and that they don’t have to be perfect. It might just take a “How are you?” »With authenticity.

Navarro explained that throughout each SFL the training teams have grown and because of how the program is a collaborative effort, new components continue to evolve in the program as new minds enter. the discussion.

“Building relationships is my most important goal,” said Navarro. “The trainers who are here, I once knew them as simple students and now they are my master trainers. “

Emmanuel Castrolugo was one of Navarro’s most recent new trainers who incorporated a podcast into the training event that reached over 20 states when it was first posted.

Sharion Tinson, assigned to the 326th Chemical Company in Memphis, Tennessee, was one of thirty-one participants in the training. Tinson, who has a degree in social psychology and human development, said she has extensive experience in mental health and has spent most of her adult life working in this field.

“In this class, I just become Sharion. This program allows people to speak simply as humans, without a rank structure, ”Tinson said.

Tinson brought up a personal story when her grandfather passed away and at the time, to her, it was as if no one saw her pain she was in. But as a message to others, she added to listen to your gut if something isn’t working. Seems correct.

“Trust your instincts,” Tinson said. “When you sense that something is wrong, there is a high probability that something is wrong. There is nothing wrong with checking.

From senior leaders, trainers to the training audience, the ongoing message seemed to be the importance of connectivity and how people come together.

“In this program, when people interact, we learn and we grow,” Feig said. “They learn and grow and the program changes and incorporates that, so it makes it feel like it matters and that’s what makes it so powerful.”

Date taken: 06.01.2021
Date posted: 06.01.2021 23:48
Story ID: 397904
Location: CAMP BULLIS, Texas, United States

Web Views: 4
Downloads: 1

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About Joaquin Robertson

Joaquin Robertson

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