By Wendy ArevaloSeptember 11, 2019
FORT KNOX, Ky. -- On Sept. 6, 1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) kicked off the start of National Suicide Prevention Month by participating in the post's Life Promotion Run.
The command followed up this morale-building event with suicide prevention training on the Army's ACE program, which stands for Ask, Care, and Escort. ACE provides Soldiers with steps on how to intervene with those at risk for suicide.
Suicide prevention training is especially important given that the rate of suicide in active-duty Soldiers went up by 20 percent in 2018.
Lt. Col. James Crocker, commander, Special Troops Battalion (STB), 1st TSC, discussed why it is important to offer regularly scheduled suicide prevention training.
"I think it helps us remember that it's OK to reach out for help when we need it," Crocker said. "It's also OK to ask those who we think may need help." "What we don't want to happen is for someone who needs help to go without it," added Crocker.
In addition to ACE Training, first-line supervisors at 1st TSC receive Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). ASIST is another Army-approved intervention program which provides instruction on how to recognize warning signs and get help for a Soldier who may be at risk of suicide.
Crocker discussed why it's important that supervisors receive ASIST training.
"We want them trained in ASIST because in daily interactions they see the changes in a Soldier, and they can recognize when something is not right," Crocker said. "That's what ASIST does for us; it helps the first line supervisors identify the red flags so we can identify potential issues and help the Soldier sooner."
Capt. Kevin Coulter, STB chaplain, 1st TSC, is a certified instructor of ASIST. Coulter said he thinks the course helps reduce the fear involved when trying to help someone who may be suicidal.
"It kind of gives the folks the mindset of you don't have to have all the answers, just stay with them, keep them safe for now, until we get them to behavioral health … or wherever there's someone who is trained," Coulter said.
The command has two ASIST classes scheduled in October and November.
In addition to this, 1st TSC also has a Military and Family Life Counselor (MFLC) on staff to provide non-medical, short-term, situational problem-solving counseling. MFLCs are masters-degree level clinicians that hold state licenses in marriage and family therapy, professional counseling and social work.
MFLCs are required to report if a Soldier tells them they are suicidal, as it falls under "duty-to-warn," but all other counseling services are confidential. MFLCs provide counseling on all aspects of military lifestyle, from deployment stress to relocation adjustment.
For more information on suicide prevention, visit: https://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/ or call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 800-273-8255, or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.