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Author Topic: Resiliency and CAP: Just how big IS the problem?  (Read 1788 times)
Holding Pattern
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« on: September 03, 2019, 06:02:06 PM »

Perhaps it is just me, but I think the focus on Resiliency in CAP is unwarranted. To date, no data has been published that I have found that necessitates this level of push.

Does anyone here have data that supports the amount of effort being put forward here?
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Eclipse
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2019, 06:24:44 PM »

Perhaps it is just me, but I think the focus on Resiliency in CAP is unwarranted.

Agreed. This is more affectation of the Air Force and a lane CAP should stay out of lest they make it worse.

CAP have neither the manpower, expertise, nor contact hours to address this in anything but the most superficial
of ways.
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CFToaster
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2019, 07:25:20 PM »

How, exactly, do you think the current CAP Resiliencey/Wellness program can make things worse?
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Holding Pattern
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2019, 07:56:19 PM »

How, exactly, do you think the current CAP Resiliencey/Wellness program can make things worse?

By bringing the subject up more often you bring it to top of mind, which is really the last thing a teenager needs IMO (when taught by people not trained in suicide prevention of youth.)


This is why the CDC for example has strict guidelines regarding suicide reporting in the media.
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etodd
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2019, 08:11:44 PM »

How, exactly, do you think the current CAP Resiliencey/Wellness program can make things worse?

By bringing the subject up more often you bring it to top of mind, which is really the last thing a teenager needs IMO (when taught by people not trained in suicide prevention of youth.)


This is why the CDC for example has strict guidelines regarding suicide reporting in the media.


^^^  When it comes to Cadets, we have them a couple hours a week. We cannot be all things to them.
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Ned
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2019, 08:18:55 PM »

Does anyone here have data that supports the amount of effort being put forward here?

Interesting question.


Let's see if we can find some numbers.


Well, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 age group.  Well ahead of any illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.

(Forgive the youth emphasis, but I hang my hat in CP.)

Teasing some information out of the CDC's WISQARS , in appears that the gross suicide rate for young folks in the cadet age range is very roughly 10 per 100,000.  Assuming that CAP cadets are no more or less suicide-prone that the regular population, that would suggest that we lose something like 3-4 cadets per year to suicide.

Which is roughly consistent with the number of reports of cadet suicide that we see every year here at NHQ.

Please note that this data excludes suicide attempts and ideation, which obviously affects far, far more people.  There is no comprehensive data available for "suicide attempts," but we know that in 2015, over a half million people were seen in an ER for treatment for self-harm. (No breakdown by age group available.)  According to a 2017 Youth Self Harm survey, some 7.9% of high-school students reported at least one suicide attempt in the last 12 months.  Applied to our cadet population, 7.9% suggests that roughly 2,000 cadets may have attempted suicide in the last year.  Again, assuming that CAP cadets are no more or less suicidal than the general population.  That is itself an interesting question, but we have no data one way or another.


Source

So, for the cadet side of the house, we have at least some data that suggests that suicide is a very real problem for youth in our age cohort.  And is undoubtedly affecting our cadets.



But back to your question, we need to weigh that against the "effort being put forward here," (to use your words.)

As near as I can tell, the "effort being put forward" consists pretty much of a working group of staff, experts, and senior leaders continueing to study the issue, and who have developed a Resilliency and Suicide Prevention Initiative to attempt to address the issue.  We have worked closely with our USAF colleagues in this regard.


As a practical matter, from the unit perspective, it involves an annual down day in October to discuss and teach resiliency.  And some modified lessons plans for existing training.


I can only agree that CAPs ability to address the issue is limited.  We are a part-time organization for all of our cadets, who spend far more time in school, and with family and friends than they do attending squadron meetings and activities.  And of course, our terrific volunteer leaders are not mental health professionals in any sense of the word, and our Chaplains are insufficient to have one or more at each unit.

But despite all of that, it appears that our leadership has weighed the issues, examined our resources and capabilities, and decided on an evidenced-based path forward to address this important issue.













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JohhnyD
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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2019, 02:26:33 AM »

Does anyone here have data that supports the amount of effort being put forward here?

Interesting question.


Let's see if we can find some numbers.


Well, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 age group.  Well ahead of any illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.

Assuming that CAP cadets are no more or less suicide-prone that the regular population, that would suggest that we lose something like 3-4 cadets per year to suicide.


That is the question, is that assumption correct? Me, I doubt it.
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dwb
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2019, 12:26:07 PM »

Well, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 age group.  Well ahead of any illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.

Assuming that CAP cadets are no more or less suicide-prone that the regular population, that would suggest that we lose something like 3-4 cadets per year to suicide.

That is the question, is that assumption correct? Me, I doubt it.

He answered your question in the very next sentence. You just had to keep reading a little more:

Which is roughly consistent with the number of reports of cadet suicide that we see every year here at NHQ.

I personally know of multiple cadet suicides in recent years, and unlike Ned I'm not a big shot who gets reports from all over the country.

It's tragic, and to the extent that CAP can reinforce the messages and best practices of youth mental health professionals, we should do that. Especially since the cost of implementation is low, and the potential upside so great.
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RiverAux
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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2019, 09:03:54 AM »

CAP have neither the manpower, expertise, nor contact hours to address this in anything but the most superficial
of ways.

As is the case for probably much more significant causes of death of senior members relating to heart disease and the other typical causes of death for those over 50.
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OldGuy
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« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2019, 11:51:39 AM »

He answered your question in the very next sentence. You just had to keep reading a little more:
Nope. No where is there data on the rate of CAP members suicides.
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JayT
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2019, 12:12:19 PM »

He answered your question in the very next sentence. You just had to keep reading a little more:
Nope. No where is there data on the rate of CAP members suicides.

So is your position that CAP cadets don't commit suicide?
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jeders
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« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2019, 12:41:05 PM »

He answered your question in the very next sentence. You just had to keep reading a little more:
Nope. No where is there data on the rate of CAP members suicides.

Which is roughly consistent with the number of reports of cadet suicide that we see every year here at NHQ.

So what, you're saying that Ned, and by extension NHQ, is making up numbers about cadet suicides? Just because you haven't seen the data doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2019, 12:49:12 PM »

CAP have neither the manpower, expertise, nor contact hours to address this in anything but the most superficial
of ways.

As is the case for probably much more significant causes of death of senior members relating to heart disease and the other typical causes of death for those over 50.

Agreed - and something else CAP doesn't need to be involved in.
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Toad1168
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« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2019, 01:47:02 PM »

I disagree.  While CAP does not have the resources to open a full counselling program, we would be negligent if we simply turn our backs on the issue.  While we may not have hard numbers on cadet suicides, I'm sure we could do some research and come up with them.  Look at the Cadet Protection Policy.  While not stated implicitly, I believe we have a duty to do what we can to curb cadet suicides.
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Toad
CFToaster
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« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2019, 02:12:11 PM »

CAP have neither the manpower, expertise, nor contact hours to address this in anything but the most superficial
of ways.

As is the case for probably much more significant causes of death of senior members relating to heart disease and the other typical causes of death for those over 50.

Agreed - and something else CAP doesn't need to be involved in.

Okay, I have a lot of bias toward action on this matter. Putting it all on the table: I'm a trauma nurse, so I see people in mental and physical health crises on a regular basis. I'm mentally ill, and have been suicidal to the point of crisis myself. My sister is mentally ill and attempted suicide with a high-lethality method. I have four other suicide survivors in my personal circle; I've lost two people I cared about to suicide. Also, I'm a CAP Health Services Officer, so resiliency training and primary prevention are among my responsibilities.

CAPR 160-1 lists among the responsibilities of Health Services Personnel:
h. Promote the Air Force’s health, wellness and fitness philosophy.
i. Educate members about and encourage behaviors which result in increased safety, health and wellness including, but not limited to

Resiliency training, and the sub-components as categorized in the Five Pillars model, is consistent with these responsibilities. While I am aware every unit does not have an HSO, there should be someone at the wing or group level that can see to it that members receive this training.

While I agree that addressing these issues through CAP is a rather superficial approach, the efforts need to be looked at in the context of the larger community. Sure, we only spend 1-2% of our meeting time on resiliency, but it's worth considering that perhaps hearing this information from multiple sources may convince someone to take it to heart.  For example, a member's doctor or school counselor may encourage them to seek help if they're experiencing poor mental health, but if they hear it from their doctor AND counselor AND CAP, it may encourage them to get the help they need.

As far as the numbers debate going on ITT, I say it's irrelevant. If ONE member benefits from increased resiliency, it's worth 1-2% of our meeting time.
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Brit_in_CAP
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« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2019, 02:23:04 PM »

Incorrect selection
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Brit_in_CAP
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« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2019, 02:24:00 PM »

As far as the numbers debate going on ITT, I say it's irrelevant. If ONE member benefits from increased resiliency, it's worth 1-2% of our meeting time.

This.  We had a cadet who was headed down that road.  He didn't.  Well worth the time.
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RiverAux
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« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2019, 10:09:28 PM »

This just seems to be cherry picking among the many risks faced by all members in their non-CAP time.  I strongly suspect that we have at least a comparable, if not more, number of cadets killed in car accidents every year, but we're not giving or requiring extra drivers training for 16+ cadets. 

CAP doesn't have the the manpower or bandwidth to do all the training we need to do to carry out our actual missions.   Yeah, if we had the 200K members it would probably take to get us "fully manned" (in some sense of the word), we might have enough active members that we could direct some of them towards these sorts of activities.  While we actually are experiencing some real growth in member numbers over the last few years, we're not there yet.

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Ned
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« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2019, 10:51:31 PM »

This just seems to be cherry picking among the many risks faced by all members in their non-CAP time. I strongly suspect that we have at least a comparable, if not more, number of cadets killed in car accidents every year, but we're not giving or requiring extra drivers training for 16+ cadets.


Statistically, you are almost certainly correct that we lose more cadets to accidental injury (including auto accidents) than to suicide every year.  Which is why we already have a strong safety program addressing exactly  those concerns. 

Really.  As I'm sure you remember from your mandatory monthly safety education.  Heck, the last Beacon had an article on vehicle tires.  I'm confident you must have read that before telling us we were ignoring vehcile accident safety.

Seriously, there are classes on all manner of accidental injury prevention:  axes and knives, downed power lines, passenger van safety, hydration, winter driving, flooding, lightning safety, and a whole bunch of others.

We do those already.  Every darn month.



Now we are also addressing the second leading cause of death for our cadet members.  What you are calling "cherry-picking" is just another word for "comprehensive."



Ned Lee

National Cadet Program Manager
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Live2Learn
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Posts: 753

« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2019, 05:07:29 AM »

Not long ago school shootings and other firearms assaults were debated in CAP Talk. After due consultation the lawyers at NHQ said “we couldn’t do safety Ed on that topic ... Nope!  Outside our mission!  Besides... we lacked specific expertise on the topic.”   So, how is a blanket suicide prevention program conducted by untrained amateurs likely to benefit that very small minority of cadets (perhaps about as large, maybe smaller than potential active shooter affecteds)?   Is this a substantially different situation where rank amateurs — using our Corporate Attorney metrics  — should dive in?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2019, 05:51:31 AM by Live2Learn » Report to moderator   Logged
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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  The Lobby  |  Topic: Resiliency and CAP: Just how big IS the problem?
 


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