By Sgt. Amanda TuckerMay 24, 2013
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - It does not discriminate. It can show itself in any individual at any age. It does not care if you are rich or poor. Depression is deadly, silent and can hide from battle buddies, leaders and family. The 82nd Sustainment Brigade has multiple resources for soldiers considering suicide to persevere and enhance their resiliency during troubled times.
"The reality of the situation is that soldiers are a lot more likely to talk to a friend than they are to see a chaplain or the military family life consultant or other professional help," said Capt. Jessie McCullough, 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion chaplain and Berlin Heights, Ohio native.
Soldiers are learning how to recognize signs of depression through Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training.
This method gives strength to the soldiers within the command to help their comrade when their battle buddy would not otherwise feel comfortable talking to medical personnel or a chaplain.
They are trained to ask a question, that before now, has been uncomfortable to ask, "are you thinking of committing suicide?"
"ASIST is not designed to make people professional counselors," said McCullough. "When people know more warning signs and are more comfortable talking about suicide, they are more likely to ask the question when they do perceive suicidal gestures or ideations."
Battalion chaplains also provide pastoral care and counseling. Counseling types include crisis intervention, prevention and intervention of suicidal behavior, and counseling for spiritual direction stress management, fear, grief or trauma.
"As chaplains, we are out with the soldiers so they get a chance to see us," said McCullough. "That personal relationship is one of the big reasons a soldier will come and talk to us. When people come to me who are depressed, I try to have them think about one or two things to look forward to. My favorite definition of hope is the knowledge that there are good things yet to come."
Another brigade resource for soldiers experiencing depression is the Military Family Life Consultant. MFLCs provide anonymous, confidential support to soldiers and their family members. They provide individual or group coaching and training sessions. MFLCs also provide informal counseling outside their office to help meet a soldier's location needs.
Soldiers can also visit the Behavioral Health Team across from the brigade headquarters on the second floor of the brigade annex building. The behavioral health team offers treatment for traumatic brain injuries and behavioral health concerns. The team is comprised of one psychiatrist, one psychologist and two social workers.
These are just a few of the resources available for the provider family.
Veterans and their loved ones can also call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, chat online at http://www.veteranscrisisline.net or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
If you know someone who is contemplating suicide, do not be afraid to take the step and ask them the question. It may save a life.