AAFB talks suicide intervention with first responders

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Breanna Klemm
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

The 97th Air Mobility Wing welcomed Amy Morgan, founder and CEO of Academy Hour, to educate first responders on the realities of suicide and how to intervene, May 4, 2021, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

During her visit, Morgan focused on providing validated mental health education and suicide intervention training for first responders on and off-duty.

“There are a couple of purposes for today’s training, the first is to talk about and help reduce the stigma of suicide by actually just having conversations about it, while explaining the why behind suicide,” said Morgan. “I also will focus on discussing how to intervene with someone if they are thinking about suicide or just going through something rough. In the training, we will go over how to help them get through something and get connected to the proper resources.”

First responders from across the 97th AMW and the City of Altus: violence prevention facilitators, resiliency trainers, first sergeants, mental health staff, family advocacy representatives, religious affairs personnel and other helping agencies were invited to attend the training.

“Being a first responder, and just being in the military in general, you are exposed to a lot more than the average civilian,” said Tech. Sgt. Tiffany Nast, 97th Security Forces Squadron operations administrator and VPF. “Believe it or not, a lot of us have a hard time asking for help, or realizing we need help. I think this training is very important for us because it gives us a different perspective on what to look for, stepping out of our comfort zones, and being willing to ask for help when we or others need it.”

Throughout the training, Morgan emphasized on how to detect early risk factors and warning signs and, followed by how to seek help. Morgan highlighted that the nature of military and first responder jobs makes suicide intervention even more critical to understand.

“It is important to understand that everyone is going through something and it does not make anything wrong with you any more than if you had a physical injury,” said Morgan. “If you had a physical injury, you wouldn't try to hide it or be embarrassed about it. You would try to get help so that you can get back to your full healthy self, and mental health is the same thing. Taking care of yourself and others helps is extremely important because it will help you do your job better and live a better life.”

If you or a wingman is in need of help, contact the National Military Crisis/Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1(800) 273-8255 or contact Ms. LisaMarie Mariglia at the Violence Prevention Office at (580) 481-7951.