FORT SILL, Okla. (TNN) -According to the Department of Defense, suicide has risen in the active duty Army since the pandemic began.
In this week’s A Day in the Life segment on Fort Sill, 7 News Anchor Makenzie Burk learned about the Behavioral Health Clinic at the Reynolds Army Health Clinic, and what they do for the soldiers on post who may be at their lowest.
“It can be difficult to admit that you’re at your lowest,” said Todd Mitchell. “But it’s okay because, I feel like people forget that it’s okay to not be okay. But it’s not okay to not do anything about not being okay.”
PFC Todd Mitchell is the only behavioral health specialist at the Far Forward Health Clinic, which tends to the basic combat trainees.
“Everybody thinks behavioral health is just ‘Oh I feel bad, I have to go talk to somebody.’ That’s a stigma that we have to break in society as well, not just in the military culture,” said Mitchell. “So behavioral health is not just I’m feeling bad. It’s missing family, kids, battle buddies, teammates. It’s more so the overall being able to take care of yourself.”
They also work with soldiers at the Reynolds Army health clinic. They’re purpose is to provide support.
“So you have physical, you can always see injuries, like when you fall down the stairs,” said Sgt. Raymond Rivera-Roman. “But you can’t always see what’s going on in someone’s mind. And that’s really where we kinda try to target. How can our social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, even nurse practitioners, how can they aide these soldiers to make it through whatever challenges were placed before them.”
Sgt. Raymond Rivera-Roman says as far as the pandemic goes, social distancing, doesn’t mean anti-social.
“They talk about social distancing. So I understand being a safe certain distance apart,” said Rivera-Roman. “But a lot of individuals are taking it as you have to isolate yourself. You have to be alone. You can’t be around anybody. But that isn’t exactly the case. It is part of it. Safe distancing.”
Mitchell says informing soldiers about the services and resources available is extremely important. Especially for those trainees who have never been away from home.
“For like the parents at home, their kid is this is the first time away from home, and fresh out of high school,” said Mitchell. "And they’re like “Ohmygosh, my baby,' Hopefully they can have some relief that here at behavioral health, we’re going to take care of them.”
If you’re a soldier who is needing help, you can go to Reynolds Army Health Clinic and ask for behavioral health, or if it’s an emergency, call 911.
Tune in next week for our A Day in the Life story about the Pride of Fort Sill, the Army’s band