DVIDS – News – Preventing Suicide and Promoting Positive Coping Skills – “We’re in it together!” »
“A very high level of participation and engagement” is the overall feedback we received from soldiers, vendors and facilitators during this month’s Spartan Foundation Day training.
It’s National Suicide Prevention Month and the ‘Spartan Brigade’, the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart, showed their commitment to the goal of zero suicides of the Army by hosting holistic health and fitness training on September 9. The focus during this event was for leaders to engage with Soldiers and build their ability to utilize support from the Integrated Behavioral Health Team and others on the installation who are here to support their resilience and well-being. The outcome goals for our Spartans were to know and educate others about ways to prevent suicide and addiction and the abundant resources at hand at Fort Stewart.
Spartan leaders skillfully balanced between meeting mission demands and allocating time and space for their soldiers to learn ways to improve their holistic physical fitness. They recognized that improving soldiers’ coping skills to combat stressors is as important as certifying their marksmanship skills, allowing them to be physically fit, expertly trained and mentally resistant. As the Senior Operations NCO of “Panther Battalion,” 2nd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID, Sgt. Maj. Adolfo F. Dominguez said, “The Spartan Foundation Day incorporating H2F training and suicide prevention was timely for the Panther Battalion’s next round of intensive training. The training will individually test the stress coping mechanisms of all Panther soldiers and eventually identify areas for growth. The hope is that the fundamental day’s integrated training will allow Panthers to be educated on the resources, life skills and tools available to them for the continued development of individual resilience, which in turn strengthens the entire team. . Hopefully the Panther Battalion can overcome their comfortable stress level and have the skills to dig deeper for more strength. The Panthers feel confident to handle any operational circumstances they may encounter in future training or deployments.
The Spartan battalions participating on this date were 2nd Bn., 69th AR; the 9th Brigade Engineer Battalion; and the 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment. Several battalions were unable to participate due to competing missions and field training, in preparation for an upcoming rotation at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. However, Spartan leaders found creative ways to ensure soldiers received this valuable training. For example, the 1st BN, 9th FAR used the train-the-trainer model to meet the needs of its soldiers.
The execution of this event would have been less successful without the brigade medical operations officer and planner, 1st Lt. Patrick Patterson, also a former senior NCO. He planned and coordinated effortlessly with the other medics in the battalion to ensure we met our training goals. Overall, we had a team of 40 experts who were split into smaller teams, creating a full representation of Sparta’s embedded experts and agencies from Fort Stewart.
Inside the brigade, we had the unity ministry team; counselors from the Military and Family Life Counseling Program, or MFLC; Soldiers certified in Master of Resilience Training, or MRT; and integrated providers of clinical care for substance use disorders, or SUDCC, and behavioral health, or BH. Other agencies supporting us were representatives from the Ready and Resilient, or R2, Performance Center and the Army Substance Abuse Program, or ASAP.
Many of them made this event a success. We had substantial help from the wife of a 9th BEB soldier, Mrs. Leah Espinosa, who is also one of the medical support assistants at the integrated BH clinic. She monitored the clinic for emerging issues while all BH providers supported the event. We couldn’t have done it without you, Léa! We also joined BH providers from the Winn Army Hospital Center as well as multidisciplinary BH and social work interns from the Fort Stewart Social Work Internship Program, as well as their training program director, Capt. Qwanquita Wright, who was the BH officer at Fort Hood and in Korea. Thanks to the generosity of the regional supervisor of the MFLC, Ms. Tammy Tracy-Suarez, we received additional advisers to dialogue with the soldiers.
During the training, each discipline had the opportunity to introduce their team members and provide insight into their abilities and how they can help Spartans reduce stress and maximize performance. For example, Spartan soldiers and leaders have been told that R2 Performance trainers can provide training tailored to their needs, such as field teamwork training. Ms. Emily Thompson, an R2 Performance Trainer, said: “It was a great opportunity for the soldiers to learn a bit more about the resources available and how we can help with overall preparedness. »
During the training provided by the MFLC, Mrs. Anya Montefiore, the Spartans were surprised to learn that the abilities of the MFLC include support to understand the real causes of stress, adopt healthier habits and understand important elements of the conflict resolution. Additionally, Wright shared with the group that “to understand a soldier’s protective factors, we need to start with a basic concept – knowing the members of our squad, our platoon and our company. We must empower those around us to see themselves as worthy, but also understand that this is sometimes a challenge based on past and current experiences. Wright and his team also encouraged soldiers to “create a social circle where they can be open, vulnerable, and willing to ask for and receive help.”
The last and most important piece is that each command team used two vignettes designed based on real cases with prompts to facilitate discussion with BH vendors. BH vendors stood by the command team to elaborate on answers or ask further questions. For example, the Spartans were asked to identify the case’s risk factors and ways to intervene. Additionally, they were asked to explain the role of leaders in promoting positive coping skills in training. The discussion-based format tested our soldiers’ knowledge of the warning signs and risk factors associated with suicide attempts. During the process, Ms. Jennifer Rasmussen, a BH contractor and retired Marine, observed that “the soldiers were very engaged and Captain Cloninger was quite passionate and engaging.”
That said, the Spartans Soldiers are in good hands! Reach out and connect because we are stronger together!
Editor’s note: commentary article by Captain Nancy Hausterman, behavioral health officer, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID.
|Date posted:||19.09.2022 20:13|
|Location:||FORT STEWART, Georgia, USA|
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