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    Provider Soldiers learn mental health first aid

    Provider Soldiers learn mental health first aid

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Joel Salgado | Sgt. Rebecca Munoz (left) and Sgt. Joshua Garvey (right), religious affairs...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Laurissa Hodges 

    3rd Division Sustainment Brigade

    Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division and members of the unit Soldier and Family Readiness Group, participated in the Mental Health First Aid training in Hinesville, Georgia, June 9, 2022.

    The training is a skills-based course that teaches participants to identify, understand and respond to mental health and substance use challenges their colleagues and others may be facing.

    “Everyone is very familiar with CPR,” said Astrid Prudence, an assistant project director at Georgia State University with the Center of Excellence for children’s behavioral health and certified mental health first aid trainer. “Everyone knows what to do if someone has a physical need however when an individual is experiencing a mental health challenge individuals typically have no idea what to do.”

    While one in five adults in the United States report living with a mental health challenge, only 10 percent of employees feel their workplace is free of stigmas surrounding mental health.

    “I do this because I want to help educate and create a new stigma around mental health,” said Prudence. “The programs intended audience depends on the level. There are mental health first aid incentives for all audiences such as a youth component which is designed for adults working with youth and teen components designed for teenagers to create peer mentors around behavior health. Today’s training is specifically for active duty, Veterans and their Families.”

    Service members and their Families can also benefit from methods of the program.

    “The training helps me as a chaplain because oftentimes I end up being a triage point,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Owen Chandler, the senior chaplain for the 3rd DSB. “Service members will come talk to me about certain things and I have increased knowledge and awareness that helps me better direct them to all the services available to them on-post and off-post.”

    Sources of strength is another resource offered to the youth aimed to reduce suicide in the school populations.

    Melaniann Pass, the military coordinator for Liberty County Board of Education student services said, “My trainers from Sources of Strength, which is a national program that we implement in the school system, brought it to me from Georgia State University because they know we support the military families grade 7 through 12, and they asked if they could conduct their test pilot curriculum on us and I said ‘sure why not’.”

    In addition to the services and resources the Army offers the Mental Health First Aid training gives those who assist Soldiers with their mental hardships additional means to meet their needs.

    “Anytime we as leaders can add tools to our toolbox to help our service members, is essential,” said Chandler. “The training ensures Soldiers don’t fall through the cracks and we’re better equipped to handle any challenge that walks in our offices.”

    Not only does the training equip Soldiers, but it also serves to provide awareness.

    “The training is important because suicide prevention is important,” said Pass. “We’ve had deaths by suicide in our county, so it’s something that we want to reduce the number of so people know where to get help and know the signs and symptoms.”

    Through the National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s MHFA program, more than 2.6 million people in the United States have been trained to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.

    “It’s the first time being taught at Fort Stewart,” said Prudence. “The goal and expected outcome is that individuals become a Mental Health First Aider which means that they would be equipped with information and knowledge of how to notice those signs and symptoms, how to assist an individual who is actively dealing with a mental health challenge as well as what resources are available in their community.”



    Date Taken: 06.09.2022
    Date Posted: 06.15.2022 13:31
    Story ID: 423053
    Location: FORT STEWART, GA, US 

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