FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — The 3rd Chemical Brigade’s Behavioral Health and Ready and Resilient teams hosted a junior Soldier resiliency summit May 25 at the Main Post Chapel, bringing together helping agencies from across the installation to introduce their services and build relationships with the brigade’s youngest enlisted Soldiers and their families.
“We recognized this group is a vulnerable population, as many are new to the military and unfamiliar with brigade and installation resources,” said Maj. Lutisha Crawford, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner at the brigade.
More than 120 Soldiers attended the six-hour event, and heard from participating agencies such as Army Substance Abuse Program, Financial Readiness Program, Family Advocacy Program, Army Wellness Center, Ready and Resilient Performance Center, Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention Program, Equal Opportunity and Religious Affairs.
“These agencies are here for our Soldiers,” Crawford added. “They host classes and one-on-one counseling for a variety of needs; they teach coping skills to address everyday stressors; and instill tools for building resilience among our future leaders. We hope this event helped forge new and supportive peer relationships.”
The ongoing effects of COVID-19 — social distancing, quarantine, isolation, travel restriction and limited unit gatherings — have resulted in continued separation and decreased connectedness among Soldiers who traditionally gathered at community events on and off post, Crawford said.
“Additionally, many agencies were closed or teleworking for extended periods and Soldiers may be unaware of resources on post to address common needs and concerns,” she added.
Each participating agency was asked to facilitate 25- to 30-minute interactive discussions on topics including stress management, conflict resolution, financial readiness, anger management, healthy relationships, SHARP prevention, EO trends and resilience.
One of the attendees was Spc. Keyon Davison, a supply specialist at the 84th Chemical Battalion, who has been in the Army two years.
Davison summed up the value of the summit in its ability to build teamwork in the brigade.
“A lot of people don’t have teammates around them,” he said. “Like me, I work alone, and I don’t always have someone around to help me. So, having something like this to bring everyone together as a team is really good.”
Davison added he feels the Army’s support programs are very effective.
“Most people can’t get this level of help,” he said. “The programs here are amazing.”
The May 25 summit was the “first of its kind,” Crawford said. She hopes the brigade can offer it semi-annually in the future, and for Soldiers from other units as well. Crawford also said plans are in the works to survey senior leaders to identify needs and begin discussions with appropriate agencies.
“Everyone needs help from time to time,” she said. “Knowing where you can go for resources is a skill every Soldier — from private to general officer — must have.”