The training aided me in the assistance of a Soldier that was having personal issues. I took the ASIST training and was thinking that this was a mentally challenging class. I had never personally dealt with anyone who had attempted or was contemplating suicide. After taking the training I felt there was a need for it, but wasn’t sure that I would ever have to use it or that I would be able to deal with someone that was in this type of need.
A few weeks after completing the training I happened upon a troubled Soldier. I thought, “do I have to use this now?”
I thought about all I had been taught: How to be an active listener, repeat back what the person said and ask the tough question — “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
It’s a difficult question to ask and sometimes even more difficult to answer. However, it seemed like saying it out loud was a relief to the Soldier. What they hear is, “I am here for you and you are not alone.”
All I knew was a first name, but I was there for a Soldier and able to make a difference during that difficult time.
I am grateful for the ASIST trainers on Fort Polk for sharing their knowledge with others so that we might help each other and help others get the help they need. You never know when you could be the person that helps someone in his or her time of need. One person could be the difference between life and death. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business.