The U.S. Army Central Readiness Training Center at Camp Buehring, Kuwait held an event using an Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Tactical Proficiency Trainer (IEWTPT) to teach its soldiers about suicide prevention techniques.
The training used a virtual-reality scenario in which participants communicated with a virtual avatar of a soldier who is experiencing suicidal thoughts and wants to speak with his unit leadership about it.
The IEWTPT is a suite of programs that lets soldiers speak with a virtual-soldier avatar in a variety of scenarios, most of which are focused on gathering intelligence. This eliminates time-intensive roleplaying scenarios that use real actors, and it lets soldiers train more often.
U.S. Army Chaplain and post-chaplain at Camp Buehring, Capt. Jerry Thompson says, “The Soldier had everything from a potential DUI, marital problems, lost a battle buddy, had survivor's remorse, and financial problems. So we as first-line leaders were able to walk him through the different programs that were available to him and help him see a reason to live.”
Every soldier in the U.S. Army is trained annually with the Ask, Care, Escort suicide-prevention program to ensure that they can help their battle buddies during their most difficult times. The IEWTPT’s suicide prevention program, delivered during Suicide Prevention Month in September, gives soldiers another method to practice and prepare to be able to help their cohorts.