“It was truly impressive to the see the turnout of family members, but also of those Michigan National Guard soldiers who showed up to show their support for their friend who had passed,“ said Lt. Col. John Hall.
There have been three funerals for Michigan National Guard soldiers in the past two weeks.
Hall said, “Anytime we have a solider that passes we make sure we go out and support the family.“
It’s hard work for those who work in the National Guard and it’s important they also take time to work on their mental health.
So in April, all Michigan National Guard soldiers are taking the suicide stand down training.
“They’re citizens as well, and we want to be able to support them the best we can,“ said Michigan National Guard Suicide Prevention Program Manager Amy Batchelder.
It’s a required two hour long course.
“So that soldiers can take care of themselves and ultimately take care of each other,“ said National Guard Director of Psychological Health Heather Nystrom.
Topics include resiliency, suicide awareness and prevention.
“Unfortunately suicide can sometimes be impulsive,“ said Nystrom. “We just want to make sure we’re providing as much information and education to our troops.“
In hopes of breaking the stigma around behavioral health and making all Michigan National Guard soldiers comfortable getting help.
”If they have a physical injury they’re going to find resolution for that right away,” said Nystrom. ”We want them to do the same with their behavioral health so it doesn’t get out of control.”
They want to make sure all troops know what resources are available.
Hall said, ”We‘re just going to make sure that we’re gonna take care of out friends, of our soldiers, of our family.”
Army G1 Suicide Resources: http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255