By Sgt. Crystal ReidyJune 5, 2014
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- Soldiers are trained to never leave a fellow Soldier behind with suicidal thoughts just as they are trained to never leave a Soldier behind on the battlefield.
The Arizona Army National Guard now combats suicide through an enhanced training program. Guard leaders attended the revised Army ACE Suicide Intervention facilitator program here, May 28.
"Suicide prevention is important because even one lost life is one too many," said Army 1st Lt. Steve Brown, a suicide prevention program manager with the Guard's Total Force Team.
During the six-hour training, 15 Guard members, the first to be trained in the state, learned how to train other Soldiers to intervene with those at risk for suicide.
"ACE-SI is only one part of the Ready and Resilient Execution Order, which uses resilience, suicide prevention, substance abuse, and sexual assault programs," Brown said.
ACE stands for ask, care and escort. The purpose of ACE is to establish steps Soldiers can take to prevent suicides. ACE-SI is a train-the-trainer course for leaders teaching the annual ACE class to other Guard members.
"ACE-SI provides junior leaders a base structure for teaching suicide prevention and intervention in order to recognize the warning signs, and get someone in crisis the support they need," Brown said.
Starting in the fall, the ACE-SI graduates will begin teaching the new model to junior Soldiers. The new model includes role playing scenarios to make it more interactive.
"We want to train Soldiers at the battalion level, and then they can in-turn train junior leaders at the company level," said Army Staff Sgt. Erika Furgal, a suicide prevention program manager.
After the advanced ACE-SI training, leaders will have increased awareness of the stigma associated with asking for help, and the skills for intervening and referring suicidal battle buddies for help.
"We, as senior leaders in the Arizona Army National Guard, are also first line leaders to junior enlisted, and we need to be equipped with the tools necessary to prevent suicides in our community," Furgal said.