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September 09, 2011


Suicide Awareness training program available at Fort McCoy

Any organization in the Fort McCoy work force that needs suicide awareness training can arrange it through Fort McCoy’s Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP).

Scott Zaehler, the installation’s ASAP program manager who also serves as the Suicide Prevention program manager, said the training is an annual requirement.
PHOTO: Scott Zaehler, Fort McCoy Suicide Prevention program manager, teaches a Suicide Awareness course to Civilian Personnel Advisory Center staff. Photo by Rob Schuette
Scott Zaehler, Fort McCoy Suicide Prevention program manager, teaches a Suicide Awareness course to Civilian Personnel Advisory Center staff. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

“The Army recognizes that the people who serve the people in uniform also have a need for this information,” Zaehler said. “They work long hours, have stress and heartache as well.”

Many people at Fort McCoy also have dual-status employment through the military-technician program, he said.

The new video “Shoulder to Shoulder: Finding Strength and Hope Together” is included in the one-hour training block.

Zaehler said the video was designed for the entire Army Family and includes real stories from or about Soldiers, Family members, and civilians.

The Shoulder to Shoulder video is available at www.preventsuicide.army.mil.

Zaehler said he can instruct the course or show supervisors where the training is available online so they can tailor it to their needs.

Fort McCoy has a number of resources to support the Suicide Awareness Program, including master resilience training (MRT) and the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, which addresses overall wellness for the Army community.

“If you think a person is in imminent danger of committing suicide, call 911,” Zaehler said.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which is part of the ASAP offerings, offers free short-term, limited counseling for Department of the Army (DA) civilians to address a variety of adult-living issues.

For more information, call Zaehler at 608-388-2441. Zaehler said as EAP coordinator he also can refer DA civilians to outside counseling resources, if necessary.

Army Community Service (ACS) offers resiliency training for civilians and Family Members as part of its MRT program.
“Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adverse conditions,” said Lorie Retzlaff at a recent Building Strong Relationships workshop.

As part of resilience training, “People learn to discuss their problems assertively, respond constructively to positive experiences and praise (other people) effectively.”

For more information about resiliency training, call Retzlaff at ACS, who is a master resilience trainer and provides resiliency training, at 608-388-3505.

Another resource is the chaplains who serve in the installation’s Religious Support Office (RSO), Zaehler said. For more information about counseling and referral for spiritual issues, call the RSO at 608-388-3528.

National resources also are available, Zaehler said. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Press “1” for veterans or civilians can stay on the line to talk with someone.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) also offers the DVA Families at Ease program that works with Family members who become aware of a veteran’s post-deployment difficulties and supports their efforts to find help for veterans.

The website is www.mirecc.va.gov/FamiliesatEase/.

The Global Assessment Test for DA civilians is available at https://www.sft.army.mil. It is a self-appraisal designed to boost personal growth, strengthen relationships and give people better coping skills for dealing with potentially traumatic events. The test is voluntary for civilians, but mandatory for Army personnel, Zaehler said.

Other suicide prevention websites include www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/Veterans, www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/0810_restoringhope/, and https://www.us.army.mil/suite/designer.

This is the Public Health Command Army Knowledge Online site with training folders for Soldiers, civilians and Family members and includes other products as well.

For more information about suicide awareness training, call Zaehler at 608-388-2441.

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