No Readiness without Resilience

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kent Kagarise
  • 442nd Fighter Wing
Suicide Prevention Month 2016 is a prime opportunity for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to raise public awareness of suicide risk among service members and veterans.

SPM 2016 national outreach efforts will be focused on ensuring service members, veterans, their families and friends know about available suicide prevention and mental/behavioral health resources.

Dr. Tom Patterson, 442nd Fighter Wing Director of Psychological Health, explained The Family Resilience Program provides tools to help service members and their families cope with the stresses of military life.

“Resiliency is all about stability and the ability to resist stress or bounce back from stressful times,” Patterson said.

The campaign for SPM 2016, “Be There”, will encourage people to think about the many ways they can help themselves, a service member or a veteran feel less alone. The theme also emphasizes helping those who are having thoughts of suicide find resources.

“This incorporates mental toughness, avoidance of drug and alcohol hazards and staying flexible,” Patterson said. “Suicide prevention plays a role in looking out for one another, noting that relationship loss combined with substance abuse is usually the biggest red flag to watch for. Resiliency overall is the desired state, being resistant to stress or recovering quickly to stay combat mission capable.”

Col. Brian K. Borgen, 442nd FW Commander, recognized that suicide is still present and in existence within the Air Force.

“We have always watched after each other vigilantly within the wing, but suicide awareness is something we must always be mindful of,” Borgen said. “Especially with the holidays coming up soon it can be more stressful whether home or deployed.”

At the wing Family Day, September 10, Dr. Patterson will hand out up to 1,500 442nd FW Navigator Cards which, will contain phone numbers of 19 helping agencies that he said can be placed in a wallet, a purse or a refrigerator door for easy family access.

“Yes, we are Airmen 24/7, but a fraction of that time needs to support family time and personal time too,” Patterson said. “Furthermore, how can we jump start another’s battery if our own battery badly needs charging?”

For more resources visit the Military Kids Connect website or After Deployment website or call MilitaryOneSource at 1 (800) 342-9647 or 1 (800) 273-TALK for further information.