Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Training to save lives

Sgt. Shawn Belk, left, petroleum supply specialist, Company A, 404th General Aviation Support Battalion, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, practices talking down Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training instructor Staff Sgt. Christine Mangus, chaplain assistant, 4th CAB, who is role-playing a suicidal individual, from harming herself, June 6, at the Provider Chapel.

By Sgt. William Smith

4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office

Fourteen Joint Task Force Carson leaders gained the knowledge to be able to better help their Soldiers through tough times, June 5-6.

The Soldiers attended the two-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training; an intensive, interactive and practice-dominated course designed to help people recognize and review risk, and intervene to prevent the immediate risk of suicide, according to the ASIST website.

“The ASIST program helps give first-line supervisors the tools and in-depth training they need to help Soldiers who may be at risk for suicide,” said Chap. (Capt.) Ben Clark, instructor, 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

“By training first-line supervisors, it provides a more likely person for a Soldier dealing with thoughts of suicide to talk to, because they are more apt to talk to someone who has been through similar experiences, that they know and respect,” Clark said.

Sgt. Shawn Belk left the training confident of the skills he learned.

“This training is going to help me be able to give assistance to those who need it; not just Soldiers, but to anyone,” said the petroleum supply specialist with Company A, 404th General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. “As a Soldier, I signed up to help protect my country, so if I come across anyone in need of help, I will be able to fall back on this training and help them as much as I can.”

Sgt. 1st Class Cedric Durr said the training prepared him to guide his Soldiers through the steps of recovery.

“This training will help as far as identifying warning signs and tendencies in those high-risk Soldiers,” said the platoon sergeant with Company B, 404th GSAB, 4th CAB. “I now know how to get Soldiers the help that they need. I will be able to provide them with the counseling and guidance (on) how to recover from what they struggle with.”

Belk said the training has made him a more complete leader.

“This training should not be thought of as a check the box; it is real life training,” Belk said. “Hopefully I will never need to utilize it, but I will be ready if the need or occasion arises.” Durr said people can always be more prepared.

“As much as we think we know how to handle a situation involving suicide, there is still something that you can learn,” he said.

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