Reservist

ISS4 2017

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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and with [a military] population," explained Adrienne Wright- Williams, the Coast Guard's Employee Assistance Program Manager, Office of Work-Life Behavioral Health Services Division. "An assessment is done on the phone, and then they'll refer the caller to medical services if it's an emergency," said Wright-Williams, "but if not, they'll continue with appointments and follow-up services for the members: call- backs and check-ins—checking in on them, asking, 'can I provide you with more information, how are you doing?'— but also an appointment if necessary." Yet in spite of the mandated suicide prevention training and the promotion of CG SUPRT, Wright-Williams acknowledges there may be some people, like Trujillo-Daza, who may not be reached by—or reach out to—those services. "We don't want to think that, but sometimes there are conditions beyond our control," she said. "But that shouldn't stop you from trying to make [zero suicides] happen." The question then becomes what to do differently. Researchers say that looking beyond stereotypes is an important first step. "There's a natural instinct to think that a combat deployment would be a consideration in suicides," explained Dr. Jackie Maffucci, research director for the non-profit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. However, "according to Army research, only a third of those who died by suicide had ever been in combat." Likewise, though anxieties about losing a security clearance or being negatively perceived by shipmates and superiors may still deter some people from asking for help, education since 9/11 on the psychological and emotional effects of military service have lessened the perceived stigma associated with mental issues. "There is still some stigma, but it doesn't seem to be much of a factor as we used to think," said Dr. Craig Bryan, executive director of the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah. "Our research suggests that the reason people do not get help is not because of stigma, but whether the treatment is convenient and will really help." With respect to convenience and effectiveness, Bryan and Maffucci say that what may work for active duty personnel may not work for reservists like those in PSU 313 and other units. "When it comes to Reserve versus active duty, you should be approaching prevention programs in different ways," explained Bryan. "'One size fits all' means one size fits nobody. The information can be the same, but it needs to be tailored." That's because reservists experience stress in different ways. For example, instead of working every day with shipmates who may be trained to identify signs leading to suicide, reservists may demobilize from deployments or return from drills to homes far from their duty station. Perhaps the only service member within their community, perhaps in rural areas with access to few counseling resources, perhaps dealing with the stress of balancing a civilian career with a part-time military one, reservists may face a gradual, potentially deadly, accumulation of anxiety and stress. And that can be hard to detect on drill weekends. "It's pretty easy to put on a happy face for a two-day drill weekend and act like everything is fine," says Petty Officer 1st Class Collin Woods, another shipmate and friend of Trujillo-Daza. Trujillo-Daza pauses to enjoy a moment with his sister and his mother. Photo courtesy of M e 2 Crane. Issue 4 • 2017 � RESERVIST 41

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