Re: The Challenge of Life
Charlie Morrison (Morrisonch@AOL.COM)
Tue, 11 Nov 1997 06:23:54 -0500
In a message dated 97-11-10 23:36:47 EST, Tom wrote:
<< This subject is important, can extend beyond suicide to sudden deaths . .
. and accidents . . . and it is something that SM's and Advisors *need* to be
able to address and help with, and they need to know where they can turn for
You are right. There are several issues here: Suicide Awareness and
Prevention Training, Grief Response, and Critical Incident Response. They
are separate, but they can also be connected.
Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training is an effort to help people
understand "Why Suicide?" and to teach them how to respond to danger signs
in order to intervene and,hopefully, prevent such an event from being
Grief Response training makes people sensitive to the normal responses to
loss - the loss could be death of a family member, friend, pet, one's
health, or a dream for the future. It could be the loss of a love-interest
(girl friend, etc.) through a breakup. It could be grief over failure to
achieve some desired goal (Eagle Scout). The reason is not as important as
the response to the preceived loss. Depression may be a part of the
individual's response to loss and then you could be dealing with a person who
is considering suicide.
Critical Incident Response is the work of that Crisis Team you mentioned
which comes in to "debrief" victims of a traumatic event (school bus accident
or fast food shooting) or to help emergency responders to deal with the
horrors of working in the rubble of the Oklahoma City bomb site. Critical
Incident Stress Debriefing is a particular response to a traumatic event.
This protocol helps victims or responders to get past their traumatic
experience thus avoiding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is
known to lead individuals into depression, drug and alcohol abuse and often
ends in broken relationships and the danger of suicide.
The first issue - Suicide Awareness . . . is training which should be given
to all Scouts, all Scouters, and all parents. Recognizing the signs and
knowing what to do can save lives.
The second issue - Grief Response is more specialized. Scouters should
know what to expect when there has been a loss and be ready to comfort and
refer. Pastoral Counselors working in hospitals are very well trained to
help individuals and groups to deal with this type of problem.
Finally, Critical Incident Response is another specialty. We are training
Army Chaplains in this discipline these days. There are other responders in
the civilian community. Check with your local fire and rescue department or
Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.
Let me highlight again my belief that ALL Scouts, ALL Scouters, and ALL (read
as many as possible) parents need training in Suicide Awareness because it is
a serious problem in the age group with which we work (read Scouts and
Chaplain U.S. Army
Fort Benning, GA
Fort Benning District MC
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City