WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (May 7, 2021) – The Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) is making its way into White Sands Elementary School classrooms to teach kids about bullying and suicide prevention.
While ASAP at White Sands Missile Range is best known for educating and training the workforce about alcohol and drug abuse, they also work closely with students. Before COVID-19, they worked with schools during Red Ribbon Week and other large events. Now, to adhere to social distancing regulations, they are visiting individual classrooms to reach students.
Bullying and suicide are vital topics for students of all ages. Suicide is a complicated topic for kids, so ASAP begins by teaching them about the risk factors. ASAP also focuses on emotions and teaches the students how to recognize and process those emotions appropriately.
“We are teaching the students how to identify their emotions by defining all the different types of feelings. We provide them techniques on gauging when they are experiencing situations that may cause fear, sadness, worry, or frustration,” said Amanda Carreras, ASAP Prevention and Employee Assistance Coordinator. “In turn, we provide them activities that can help shift their mood back to a more comfortable one such as happiness, excitement, calmness or even silliness.”
One goal is to provide students with the tools they need for an emotionally healthy lifestyle that kids can use at school and home. They are also techniques that the students can use now and in the future.
“We want them to know it is okay to feel angry or sad. However, we also want them to know that there are unhealthy ways of dealing with those emotions that can be more damaging in the long run,” said Carreras.
During the lesson, students identify a “safe person” who is someone they can trust and turn to during scary times. For many kids, it is a teacher, coach, or family member. The kindergarten to second-grade classes also make keychains with a mood temperature that the kids can refer to in the future. In contrast, the middle school students play trivia games addressing more in-depth questions and education on bullying, self-identity, stress management, and peer pressure.
For more information, contact the White Sands Missile Range ASAP office at 575- 678-2112.