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Peterson Space Observer

Peterson First Sergeants tackle suicide

By Airman 1st Class Alexus Wilcox | Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Peterson AFB First Sergeants partnered with Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention organizations to host the “Call 4 Action: ’Lean on me‘” event on base Nov. 17, 2020.

The purpose of this event was to provide strategies to navigate situations when someone may be suicidal or in distress, as well as educate people on how to build connections with others to minimize disconnected feelings.

Chief Master Sgt. Robert Rogers, Joint Intelligence Operation Center, senior enlisted advisor, at Fort Worth, Texas and author of “Paperback Mentor” was at the forefront of the event. Rogers began his presentation with a recount of his personal battle with suicide and then led a discussion about connecting with people in all aspects of life.

“What makes you different, makes a difference,” said Rogers. He also emphasized the importance of being mindful of the diverse set of individuals that surround you and how you should make an attempt to understand them. The senior leader then provided some tools to maintain a healthy life using a strategy called the “Three Chamber Hour Glass,” which is illustrated in his book. This is the balance between family, career and self.

“Our Airmen need to see that it is not just them struggling,” said Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Canole, Space Delta 2 First Sergeant. “It is Airmen of all ranks that struggle with mental health and it’s okay to take a knee and get the help they need.”

Canole also introduced the attendees to the First Sergeant initiative, “Who’s your person? Here’s your dog tag.”

The program provides a military member with a dog tag with their contact information to give to an individual (military member or not) to signify that they can contact you when times get tough.

“This [“dog tag”] gesture symbolizes that they are someone you trust and talk to in a dark moment or during a tough time in your life,” said Canole.

The final leg of the event was a four-hour portion called “Safe Talks.” During this time attendees were separated into two groups and they were given crisis scenarios to discuss how they would engage the issue.

“They learned how to prevent suicide by recognizing signs, engaging someone and connecting them to an intervention resource for further support,” Canole said.

Safe Talk provided attendees with useful strategies to overcome a crisis they may not have been exposed to before and taught them how they may have managed a past crisis differently.

“[In the given scenarios], they’re giving you real experiences that are relatable, and tools that I can use as an assistant First Sergeant for my Airmen in a crisis,” said Tech Sgt. Jesus Gonzalez, 21st Security Forces Squadron, Assistant First Sergeant. “I can also pass down the information I learned [at the event] to other leaders.”

For more information, or if you need help, call 719 552-HELP to reach support services, or go to: https://www.peterson.spaceforce.mil/Got-Stress/​

Peterson First Sergeants tackle suicide
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