☷Chaplains Building a Bridge to Soldier Care Support
U.S. Army ( By Press Release office)
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Garrison chaplains play an integral role in spiritual guidance and crisis intervention among Soldiers and their Families . Chaplains play a key role tending to the spiritual well - being of Soldiers , their Families , and the greater Army community . Army chaplains must not only facilitate spiritual growth and connection across a multitude of faiths and practices , but also serve as the first line of defense in crisis intervention . “Spirituality is the core of prevention and resiliency; I believe that for instance when a person has hope it provides a degree of resiliency that a person who doesn’t have hope won’t have , ” said Chaplain ( Col . ) James Boulware , Soldier and Family Spiritual Readiness Division Action Officer , Office of the Chief of Chaplains . Spiritual care is an important aspect of crisis intervention . Chaplains support crisis intervention by reducing the stigma associated with receiving mental health services . Also , conversations with chaplains are 100% confidential and cannot be shared with command , so Soldiers can get help , but also maintain privacy . Often chaplains serve as the gateway to care and are the first people to have contact with individuals who are going through tough situations . “Chaplains come to the force with a lot of life experience with them , so we bring that life experience of being a father , mother , having a Family with us so that when we sit down with that Soldier we can relate to that Soldier and bring additional wisdom into our counseling , ” Boulware said . “Any chaplain would say that our number one priority is people and community . ” Soldiers most often approach chaplains to seek guidance . These circumstances can range from a junior Soldier asking for support on how to handle pressure from their drill sergeant or a senior leader needing counsel regarding career decisions or marriage concerns . Soldiers often share their emotional struggles and other challenging life experiences and hardships . “ ( The conditions ) can vary but that’s our role as the chaplains to address all of that , ” said Boulware . He said it’s important he knows his role in the crisis as the spiritual facilitator and to understand how religious the care seeker is . “The first thing I do is be aware of my role as a chaplain and move to the spiritual side as well as the emotional and behaviors of that person , we bring in the God aspect , I then use that as part of the platform to build guidance and direction on , I address them in a way that they can receive , and I don’t push my own religious beliefs on someone , ” Boulware said . Boulware said the means and tools chaplain’s use to teach prevention and intervention have changed over time , such as using Ask , Care , Escort and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training to assist in a potential crisis . Chaplains serve as caregivers to care - seekers and provide the dialogue for individuals to reflect on their purpose and values . They are available to Soldiers through 24/7 on - call lines at each installation , as well as through an installation’s chaplaincy office , although the availability of these lines may differ between installations and garrisons . You can learn more about the U . S . Army Chaplains Corps here: https://www . army . mil/ chaplaincorps . If you need additional support , please call the Military and Veterans Crisis Line at 1 - 800 - 273 - 8255 and Press 1 or visit https://www . veteranscrisisline . net/get - help - now/ military - crisis - line/ .
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