FRSTs train to intervene
January 5, 2010
VILSECK, Germany - "Most people that commit or attempt suicide don't want to die - they want relief," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) James Hartz to a group of 10 family readiness support technicians at the Vilseck Army Community Service Center, during an Ask, Care, Escort-suicide intervention, known as ACE-SI, skills training course.
The training was part of the implementation of the U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr's Suicide Prevention Action Plan, which was developed to invigorate the suicide prevention program in conjunction with the quarterly garrisonwide Suicide Prevention Task Force meeting in mid-November. Through this plan, the ACE-SI training program will now be mandated yearly for Army leadership and Soldiers down to the team and squad leader positions in the beginning months of 2010.
According to Hartz, one of the ACE-SI instructors at USAG Grafenwoehr, the training is "suicide first aid" designed as a condensed training program to "develop confidence in the individual Soldier to help his buddy, to find out if he's at risk, to care about him and make sure that he gets to the help he needs.
"It's a very aggressive, very forward-thinking plan," said Hartz of the Suicide Prevention Action Plan which incorporates the ACE-SI training.
The course combined training in suicide intervention through lessons on identifying and helping to prevent and intervene with suicidal individuals. Hartz used facts, insight from experiences of suicide prevention counseling, exercises in active listening, intervention role-playing, and short video-bytes to teach the fundamentals of being a suicide intervention first-responder.
"I expected to come in and learn statistics and other warning signs - but that's not what we're learning. We're learning actually how to intervene," said Casey Emmendorfer, family readiness support technician for 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, whose unit is preparing for deployment. "It's a true intervention tool instead of just knowledge."