By Mark Wyatt, 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs / Published September 15, 2017
September is Suicide Prevention Month and military and civilian members here, as well as their family members, have resources available to them. HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – September is Suicide Prevention Month and military and civilian members here, as well as their family members, have resources available to them. In an Air Force Surgeon General article published earlier this month, the service’s suicide prevention manager spoke about the need for involvement at all levels.
“To combat something as complicated as suicide, we need leaders at every level involved,” said Lt. Col. Alicia Matteson, the Air Force suicide prevention program manager.
Leading that effort on base are Hanscom’s Helping Organizations, known collectively as H2O. This team is active in fostering a resilient community through outreach and prevention, awareness and education and providing a strength-based approach.
“Social connections and a sense of belonging are two powerful protective factors that help people be resilient and deal effectively with stressful events,” said Carolyn McCafferty, Hanscom’s community support coordinator. “The Air Force encourages resiliency by maintaining a balanced lifestyle through Comprehensive Airman Fitness.” Comprehensive Airman Fitness, or CAF, looks to enhance the resilience of individuals, families and communities through a wingman concept and the four wellness domains of mental, physical, social and spiritual. One of those domains, mental, is led by the 66th Medical Squadron’s Mental Health Clinic.
“There are a number of resources available to members of the Hanscom community who are feeling hopeless,” Capt. John Doleski said, a Family Advocacy officer. “They include individual or couples counseling services, parenting support and other prevention services to address a wide range of issues and concerns before they lead to serious life stressors.”
Earlier this month, Hanscom’s senior leaders handed out ACE cards to members of the workforce as they arrived to the base in the morning. The cards provide information about how to Ask, Care and Escort someone who may be contemplating suicide.
In any given year, more than 40,000 Americans die by suicide. According to a Massachusetts Department of Public Health report on suicides, in 2014, the latest data that is available, 608 people died by suicide in the Commonwealth. Suicide touches the lives of many people, including those at Hanscom. One year ago, Ray Erne, a contracting specialist for Battle Management’s Operations Command and Control Division, took his own life.Erne’s supervisor, Paul Cincotta, recently spoke about the telephone call from Erne’s wife, Janet, informing him.
“That was a tough call,” Cincotta said. “I was stunned, devastated. There is no supervisory class that prepares you for this; it was an exercise in empathy and sympathy.”
In an email to Hanscom’s contracting community, Ken Main, who worked with Erne, reflected on the anniversary of his death. “Suicide isn’t something any of us really like to talk about, but I would submit it’s something all of us should be talking about,” he wrote. Main included information about a suicide prevention event Erne’s wife and daughter, Christina, are participating in to raise awareness about this epidemic.
“Unfortunately, suicide is way too familiar to too many of us,” Main wrote. “I hope by sending this note maybe a conversation will take place that otherwise wouldn’t have, or maybe a double-take and response to your co-worker or family member: ‘hey, you sure you’re ok?’.”
There are many resources available to military and civilian members, their families and friends about suicide prevention. One here on base for military members and their families is the Behavioral Health Optimization Program, which is available through the clinic scheduling system at 781-225-6789 directly or through a referral from your primary care physician. The Military and Family Life Consultants at 781-879-7654 are also available for service members.
Those military members and veterans who need immediate help are encouraged to call the Military Crisis Line and speak to a counselor by dialing 800-273-8255 and pressing 1. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a resource to all Hanscom personnel; the Lifeline Hotline number is 1-800-273-8255.
Additionally, the Be There Peer Assistance Line is a peer support call and outreach center available to service members across the Department of Defense, including the National Guard and Reserves, as well as their families. The peer support program offers coaches 24/7 through chat, email, phone and text. Communications between peer counselors and those who call are confidential.
Other resources on-base includes chaplain services at 781-225-5501 for military and civilian members. For civilian employees, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides a full range of services including and off-base counseling, seminars, webinars and more.
Employees and their family members can call 1-800-222-0364 for referral and assistance.
For further additional information and resources on suicide prevention, visit the Air Force’s suicide prevention office at https://www.airforcemedicine.af.mil/SuicidePrevention/ or DOD’s page at https://www.dspo.mil/.
Oasis has been notified that the protest for the Headquarters Air Combat Command (HQ ACC) A5/8/9 task order was resolved and we have been awarded the five-year task order under the GSA OASIS SB contract.
Under this task order contract, we will support HQ ACC A5/8/9 in the areas of Core Function Team, Weapon Systems Team, and Resource Management. The A5/8/9 is responsible for requirements generation, directing AFRL Science and Technology efforts, and planning/programming/budgeting to secure prioritized warfighter capability. Our support will include: Joint Capability Integration Development System (JCIDS) Support; Planning, Programming, Budget and Execution (PPBE); Studies, Analysis, and Reports Support; Staff Resource Support; Distributed Missions Operations (DMO) support; and Command and Control (C2) Requirements and Integration Support.
HSI Division of Oasis Volunteers at the DC Central Kitchen
On Thursday, May 11, 2017, staff from the Human Solutions (HSI), FAA/NASA division of Oasis, volunteered for an evening at the DC Central Kitchen.
Around 20 employees and their guests participated in this community-centered team event by helping to prepare food for the local community. Projects included prepping many boxes of donated produce (such as green peppers and radishes), sorting and counting boxes and bags of bananas, and helping to clean up around the kitchen at the end of the evening.
Staff enjoyed being “hunger-fighters” and supporting the community by helping to prepare food for those in need. Several staff indicated a willingness to return to volunteer at the DC Central Kitchen in the future.
DC Central Kitchen’s main production facility is located near Capitol Hill in the basement of one of the nation’s largest homeless shelters. The organization also maintains a Nutrition Lab in DC and are involved in providing nutritious meals for 15 schools in the city, as well as numerous college and high school campuses across the country. Their focus is not only on preparing donated food, but also providing training for jobs in the hospitality industry.
Last year, DC Central Kitchen provided 1.8 million meals to 82 partner agencies. HSI has always been an advocate of giving back to the community. This year, the HSI volunteer event brought employees together for a fun and meaningful activity that truly gave back to the community.