Army Chaplain shares tips for Suicide Prevention Month

US Army Chaplain shares tips for Suicide Prevention Month
The 11th ADA Brigade Chaplain, Maj. Brian Smith, shares tips on suicide prevention month, Aug. 16, 2021, Fort Bliss, Texas. Photo credit Staff Sgt. Mariah Jones

Meet the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Chaplain, Maj. Brian Smith, from Mobile, AL.

Smith has been serving in ministry since 1984 and has been a Chaplain in the Army for 16 years. With many years of religious expertise, his favorite part in serving as a Chaplain is providing worship services to Soldiers. One fond memory of his occurred on a Palm Sunday morning in Poland.

“My unit was planning to strike a day early when I halted their plans. I said no, worship service is on Sunday!” That Sunday, a little over 20 Soldiers came to his Sunday service. “We were out in the middle of this field, a little snow coming down too, and it was a great simple moment,” he recalled.

In addition to worshipping, Smith also enjoys counseling. “It’s always exciting when I can work with a couple who is having troubles. Sometimes it’s not a difficult solution, it’s just they don’t know how to talk about it in a way that they can express themselves and still be heard by each other. We're here to help, guide, and encourage you to work things out."

As September marks Suicide Prevention Month, Chaplain Smith passionately expressed the importance of every Soldier and how being proactive to stop suicides is the number one key.

“Everyone knows people commit suicide, but what they have trouble is understanding when to get involved and how to stop it. Ask Care Escort.” He further shared useful tips on how to put ACE into action.

“Ask hey how are you doing? How’s your family doing? Then when you really care enough, you notice things aren’t right by their tone of voice and their attitude. Care enough to really investigate and escort them to go talk to someone. Whether it’s financial problems or comments about not liking life.”

Each battalion in the Imperial Brigade has a safe outlet where Soldiers, Family Members and DA Civilians can utilize resources and be understood. “The unit ministry teams provide counseling in marriage, relationships, stress at work, and more.” The Chaplain also provides confidentiality.

Soldiers can contact other resources like a Military Family Life Consultant, Medical Professional or Military Crisis Hotline at 800-342-9647 for any additional help.