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    Safety Day; Suicide prevention is everybody's business

    71st EOD host Safety Day

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Apolonia Gaspar | As part of National Safety Month, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD) held a full-day safety...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Apolonia Gaspar 

    71st Ordnance Group (EOD)

    FORT CARSON, Colorado – As part of National Safety Month, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD) held a full-day safety class at Fort Carson, Colorado, June 02, 2023.

    The event brought subject matter experts to our Soldiers to present materials the safety office considers high-interest items. These experts were able to communicate why these safety concepts are important on a personal level highlighting suicide prevention and firearm safety.

    “The training is to educate us that there are many factors that contribute to suicide and there's not a ‘one size fits all’ solution to approaching this complex issue,” said Robert Reynolds, 71st EOD safety manager. “Suicide is preventable and efforts to prevent it may occur at any level; individual, relationship, and community.”

    The safety class was joined by James Gallanos, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and serves as the Community Engagement & Partnerships Coordinator, a newly created position with the VA’s Eastern Colorado Suicide Prevention Team.

    “To prevent suicide, we must maximize protective factors while minimizing risk factors at all levels through communities worldwide,” said James.

    The strategy taught, sometimes referred to as VA's "Suicide Prevention 2.0," combines community and clinical interventions. It is aimed at increasing the implementation of best practices for preventing veteran suicide in local communities, recognizing that the first respond to a veteran in crisis is not from a clinician, but rather from a caring neighbor or friend.

    71st EOD was then joined by Carey Boelter, the Behavioral Health Programs Manager for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado Springs, and Dr. Lee Lehmkuhl, who serves on the Suicide Prevention Collaborative of El Paso County, charing the Lethal Means Safety Work Group.

    The number of people who commit suicide using a firearm within the county is higher than the number of people who die in homicides and motor vehicle accidents combined. One of the main goals of the Lethal Means Safety Work Group is to reduce suicide deaths by firearm in our county. Their goal is to promote awareness of gun ownership and educate others about the critical role gun owners play in preventing tragedies by respecting the culture and rights of those who own firearms.

    The class ended with 71st EOD Chaplain Maj. Ryan Mills, who breaks down the issue of suicide prevention into areas of awareness – awareness of the need for healthy habits and healthy relationships and reaching out to lifelines when necessary.

    An individual's overall well-being typically declines as a result of a number of factors, Mills explained. Having difficulty exercising, feeling isolated, or otherwise not feeling on top of your game can be compounded by a situation that amplifies the feelings already present. Depending on the perspective, the event might be large or small. A sudden disruption of daily routine, illness, death of a friend, divorce, or separation may cause a disruption.

    “Ask. Care. Escort. We can not forget that.” said Mills.

    The Army conducts annual suicide prevention training for all Soldiers using the ACE (Ask, Care, Escort) training model. The goal of this training is to increase awareness of suicide risk factors and warning signs and available resources, and to encourage intervention with Army Family members who are at risk.

    All in all, it was a great day to learn about safety that is both useful at work and practical at home in some cases.

    If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Dial 988, A trained crisis counselor then takes the call, listens to what is being said to get a better understanding of how their problem is affecting them, provides support and connects them with resources as necessary.



    Date Taken: 06.02.2023
    Date Posted: 06.08.2023 02:08
    Story ID: 446464
    Location: FORT CARSON, CO, US 

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