(Via Ho’okele News)
Frontline supervisor training attendees look through information materials before taking the three-hour course focused on suicide prevention and improving supervisory skills at the Hickam Memorial Theater at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Feb. 13.
Story and photo by Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden
15th Wing Public Affairs
Frontline supervisors at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam were educated on suicide prevention in a training course held Feb. 13 at the Hickam Memorial Theater.
Hosted by the 15th Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health Flight, the three-hour course was based on the motto, “Good Leadership is Good Prevention.”
The frontline supervisor course was initially developed by the Air Force to prepare supervisors to identify and intervene with Airmen at risk for suicide.
“This is an important program to aid in suicide prevention and teaches supervisors better ways to interact and relate to their Airman,” said Tech. Sgt. Dawn MacKenzie, mental health flight NCO in charge.
MacKenzie said frontline supervisors are the target audience because they typically have the most direct interaction with Airmen.
“Good leadership should decrease suicides,” she said. “You want to get to know your people, so that you also know when they aren’t doing well. This training is about learning how to recognize the signs. We’re teaching additional leadership techniques to help supervisors understand if their Airmen are in distress.”
The training, which is built as a workshop, is interactive, participatory and experimental. MacKenzie said it is intended to emphasize supervisory skills as much as helping skills
Though the training is mandatory for E-5 and above, Airmen of every rank are strongly encouraged to attend.
Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Nightingale, 647th Civil Engineer Squadron, attended the training and said while he thinks frontline supervisor training is important for experienced supervisors, he thinks the course holds particular significance for newly appointed supervisors or Airman preparing to fill that role.
“I think this training is a good first step to get first-time supervisors ready for what they should be looking for in their Airmen,” he said. “Personally, I think this training should be added to the Airman Leadership School (ALS) curriculum.”
“If this training was presented in ALS to the Airmen who are in line to be frontline supervisors, I think it could give them a head start and set them up for success. When I was coming up through the ranks, this type of training wasn’t available and so I learned a lot through trial and error, but I would have appreciated having something like this to guide me early on.
I think this type of training is really important and serves as a refresher for seasoned supervisors, but it’s definitely vital information for first time supervisors to get,” Nightingale said.
In addition to teaching supervisors how to take care of their Airmen, the course also emphasized the importance of being a good wingman and Airmen helping each other.
“It is every Airman’s responsibility to seek help when necessary to ensure their best performance, but also it’s every Airman’s responsibility to reach out to fellow Airmen in distress,” said MacKenzie.
For more information about frontline supervisor training, contact the 15th Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health Clinic at 448-6377.