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                 As the Chief has said “People are the Army’s number one resource,” suicides can degrade the overall readiness of the unit. A suicide in a unit
has devastating effects on morale. There has
been a steady increase of suicides in the military. According to an article in USA Today, 498 troops died by suicide in 2019 and Army officials are worried that the stress of the Covid-19 pandemic will increase this number (Brook). Suicide prevention is something that must be done with care and with a deep understanding of how to address the circumstances that plague an individual to want to commit suicide and find ways to prevent it.
This goes back to the importance of building relationships, by introducing programs to help individuals feel comfortable to come forward when they have a problem and want someone to talk to. An example of this would be promoting the open- door policy so that Soldiers feel welcome to meet with their leaders to talk. Other ways would be for leaders to use their counseling and mentorship sessions to reiterate the resources available to Soldiers. More importantly just sitting down and getting to know your Soldiers has an immense impact on their overall self-worth.
Taking the time to know your Soldiers on a personal level will also give leaders insight to see the little changes in personality, their mood, and their demeanor. Noticing these subtle changes
can help leaders sense if a Soldier is in need of
help. Getting to know your Soldiers early in
the integration process can give you a baseline understanding of each individual and ensure you can provide the right resources at the onset of difficulties and enable them to be proactive before it may be too late.
By having conversations on a personal level, leaders can ensure that Soldiers feel like they are
an important member of the team and that can have a profound effect on them, the mission and the overall morale of the unit. Lastly, when leaders take a proactive approach in talking with their unit, checking in on their mental health and physical well-being, this will go a long way in promoting change. These are all aspects of the Sergeant Major of the Army Grinston’s initiative, “This is My Squad.”
Stop Racism and Extremism
With the Army as a microcosm of American society, we are not exempt from what is going on
in the world. We experience the same challenges with racism and extremism. In 2020, Army leaders had to address some “crucial conversations”
dealing with racism and extremism stemming from Charlottesville VA, the George Floyd case, and countless other incidents throughout the year. To combat against racism and extremism, leaders must continue to have open dialogue with each other within the unit. “This is my Squad” is about having those conversations.
By leveraging “This is My Squad” leaders can get to know and understand the experiences of each Soldier in their charge. We all as Soldiers have had experiences, good or bad, that we brought
with us into the Army. More times than not those experiences are based off of attributes that we had no choice in deciding. We must have these “crucial conversations” to understand the how and why those experiences have shaped each Soldier and the way they look at each situation through different
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