By Scott Zaehler and Brent Oto, Suicide Prevention Program, U.S. Army Garrison-HawaiiJuly 24, 2015
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Suicide prevention is a concern for all Soldiers and family members.
Data and research have shown that the risk factors for suicide are complex, and every individual differs in their ability to manage major life stressors, relationship dilemmas and deal with post-traumatic stress.
Statistics indicate that the number of suicides in the Army is a major concern, and therefore, the Army provides suicide prevention awareness training, resources and a campaign month in September for those who need support.
Identifying the solution to a crisis is more difficult than identifying the problem. Often, we are unaware that a Soldier is at high risk until the situation has reached emergency level, and we are forced into responding to the emergency.
While caring for the individual in crisis is a priority for Soldiers at all levels, we also have to be able to identify and address circumstances prior to reaching crisis levels.
In order to do that, the Schofield Barracks Suicide Prevention Program offers these suggestions:
Know your Soldiers. Today's Army has the best-trained and most well-equipped Soldiers in history. Over the last decade, they have accomplished missions in some of most demanding circumstances the world has to offer.
It can become easy to forget that behind each Soldier is an individual, with individual strengths, weaknesses, successes and challenges. Mission accomplishment and troop welfare are the foundation of a successful organization.
Also, a basic tenant of leadership is to know your Soldiers. Take the time to ask about their personal lives, their goals, their hopes and even their challenges. Doing so can enable the leader to be aware of challenges a Soldier is facing, and to look out for their welfare by engaging in available resources.
Know your resources. There are many resources available to a Soldier facing challenges from the Army and outside organizations. These resources are useless if they are unknown and unused.
Each of us has strengths and knowledge, but we can't possibly be able to address and resolve every situation our Soldiers face. This is where the resources come in. By connecting Soldiers with the appropriate resources, a problem identified today has a far better chance to be mitigated with an end result of lowering the risk level.
-- Train Resiliency. The Schofield Barracks Suicide Prevention Program provides classes, as well as "Ask, Care and Escort" (ACE) and ACE-Suicide Intervention training.
-- The Chaplain's Corps teaches "Strong Bonds," a program that helps educate families or couples with relationship skills.
-- Comprehensive and Soldier Family Fitness (CSF2) is a program that offers a series of classes that provide resiliency training to enhance Soldiers and family members' well-being and work performance.
--For more details, call (808) 655-9105.