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Facilitating RESILIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE To fight back against suicide in USAF

by SONIA GHAZALI DMGT 732 FACILITATING CREATIVE THINKING | SPRING 2013 | PROF, MARIAH HAY


Contents History of United State Air Force ..........................................5

Epidemic of suicides in U.S. Military......................................6 Creative Problem Solving......................................................9 Problem Statement..............................................................10 Value Proposition.................................................................11 Group Selection and Composition........................................13 Participants.........................................................................15 Getting Started....................................................................18 Warm-Up Activity................................................................20 Warm-Up Activity Outcome......................................23 Visual Storytelling Activity...................................................26 Fact Finding............................................................28 Idea Finding.............................................................31 Visual Storytelling Activity outcome..........................36 Feedback...........................................................................40 Interview.............................................................................41 Conclusion..........................................................................42

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History OF UNITED STATE AIR FORCE

The United States Air Force became a separate military service on September 18, 1947, with the implementation of the National Security Act.

The Act created the National Military Establishment, later renamed the United States Department of Defense, which was composed of three branches, the Army, Navy and a newly created Air Force. Prior to 1947, the responsibility for military aviation was divided between the Army, for land-based opera-

tions and the Navy, for sea-based operations from aircraft carrier and amphibious aircraft. The Army created the first antecedent of the Air Force in 1907, which through a succession of changes of organization, titles, and missions advanced toward eventual separation 40 years later.

Today, the United States Air Force is the largest, most capable, and most technologically advanced air force in the world, with about 5778 manned aircraft in service, approximately 156 Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles, 2130 Air-Launched Cruise Missiles, and 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles. The USAF has 328,439 personnel on active duty, 74,000 in the Selected and Individual Ready Reserves, and 106,000 in the Air National Guard. In addition, the Air Force employs 168,900 civilian personnel including indirect hire of foreign nationals.

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EPIDEMIC OF SUICIDE

Suicides in military rise to nearly ONE PER DAY despite less combat Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/suicides-military-rise-day-article-1.1240332#ixzz2RPJeGkPQ

Epidemic of

Suicides in U.S. Military Since America began a decade of war, the U.S. military is facing an epidemic of suicides, more deaths on the home front than on the battlefield, which has become a growing concern for the organization. The number of suicide deaths in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 in last year - more than the 295 Americans who died fighting in Afghanistan in 2012.

Most of those committing suicide are young men, 18-24, who are worried that asking for help will undermine their career. “Suicide prevention is first and foremost a leadership responsibility. Leaders throughout the chain of command must actively promote a constructive command climate that fosters cohesion and encourages individuals to reach out for help when needed�, says Cynthia O. Smith, spokeswoman for the Department of Defense. Every Airmen should recognise the issue and be involved in developing programs to eradicate the increasing rate of suicide with in their organization.


The US Military’s suicide rate grew a startling 15 percent in 2012.

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Creative Problem Solving Creative Problem Solving is a proven method for approaching a problem or a challenge in an imaginative and innovative way for any organization. It’s a tool that helps people re-define the problems they face, come up with breakthrough ideas and then take action on these new ideas.

Seeking help is a sign of strength; therefore the challenge for military member is to actively promote a constructive environment that fos-

ters cohesion and encourage individuals to reach out for help when needed.

After all the technical skill Airmen have it is difficult for them to think out of the box and generate creative idea. They use the left side of their brain more often than their right, but by exercising it. During this workshop, group will learn to be vigilant about deferring judgment and coming up with wild, outrageous, out-ofthe-box ideas.

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Problem STATEMENT

Is fighting against suicide is responsibility of only leadership?

How can military service members actively promote a constructive work environment that fosters cohesion and encourages individuals to reach out for help when needed?


Value PROPOSITION

For US Air Force First Term Airmen, stationed at Moody Air Force Base who are dedicated to shared commitment to three core values - integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.

The recent increase of US Military’s suicide rate to startling 15 percent in 2012 has become of the biggest concern for US Military and Military families. This project is focused to facilitate resilience and perseverance to fight against epidemic of suicide and improving mission readiness and well-being of the Air Force community. By implementing strategy & analytical process, as well as a

powerful analogy, participants in a creative environment will be able to analysis the challenge at hand and generate creative ideas towards solving problems by identifying warning signs and developing strategy to help their troop member at risk. Unlike an existing method of suicide prevention program which only provide suicide awareness resources and presentations to educates people on the facts about suicide and role in suicide prevention. This method will help build group cohesion and promote effective communicate towards a common goal, thus foster creative thinking and collaborate in problem-solving process.

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Participants Info.

FOR FACILITATING RESILIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE WORKSHOP


Group

SELECTION AND COMPOSITION

This project is center around USAF First Term ACE (Airmen for Excellence) members. It is aligned with First Airmen Training Center (FTAC) Program.

FTAC is designed to aid all firstduty-stationed airmen with their transition from a systematic and regimented environment into a hands-on employment of the airmen’s skills, knowledge and training gained from technical school. FTAC Program provides a solid base of information for Airmen to build on, so they can grow professionally and excel in their career fields.

At Moody AFB, FTAC training is a 5 day program that covers all of Air Force Instruction from as small as being on time to work to resiliency. These courses focuses on identifying, utilizing and improving competencies essential to problem solving, character building, work ethics and effective communication, resulting in stronger Airmen.

This is project designed to facilitate resilience, perseverance and creative problem solving to prevent suicide behavior and help Airman cope with difficult situations.

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USAF First Term Airmen, Moody Air Force Base ATTENDEES: 18 PARTICIPANTS Ranks: Basic Airmen to Senior Airmen Age: 18 - 28 Year old Women to Men Ratio: 1:8

Location: First Term Airmen and Professional Enhancement Center


Participants

BY RANK AND ALPHABETICAL ORDER

1.

AB Aaron Dane

3.

A1C Decarlo Watson

2. 4.

5.

6. 7.

8. 9.

10. 11.

12. 13.

A1C Caitlin Curran

A1C Dwayne Hewan A1C Elton Huff

A1C Islen Billingsley A1C Jay Fuller

A1C Marvin Smith A1C Megan Brill

A1C Michael Purcell A1C Moore Ryan

A1C Nichdas Bogard A1C Phillip Switzer

14.

A1C Robert Hall

16.

A1C Sterling Brisbin

15. 17.

18.

A1C Sean Foley

A1C William Ferris

SRA Julian Broaddus AB= AIRMEN BASIC, A1C= FIRST AIRMEN, SRA= SENIOR AIRMEN

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Activity Plan

FOR FACILITATING RESILIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE WORKSHOP

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Getting Started

INTRODUCTION AND PRESENTATION - DAY 1

Icebreaker

Duration: 15 minutes Participants were given name tag sticker to be creative and write ‘what represent them’ instead of their name and rank. Then they were asked to introduce them self to others. Goal: Energize participants and break out of patterned way of thinking. The fun introduction was followed by a presentation where I discussed the goals and project outcome of the workshop. I briefly introduced Creative Thinking, Creative Problem Solving (CPS), and Lateral Thinking. We also discuss the problem at hand – Epidemic of Suicide in Military. Goal: Familiarizing the participants with the Workshop and its expectations.


Break The Ice:

“What represents you?� as fun activity helped participants to relax and made them more receptive to listening and contributing. The idea was more than just having fun, it truly helped to create group cohesion based on trust and served as the base of building a team atmosphere and generating enthusiasm for upcoming activities.

Presentation:

The presentation was a good way to introduce creative thinking and problem solving to technical minded Airmen who knew little about the topic area. It helped to build the body of knowledge, before introducing new skills and concepts into their own learning.

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Warm-Up

ACTIVITY - DAY 1

Success = Failure + perseverance

Duration: 20 minutes

Participants were divided into four groups- Red, Green, Navy and Blue. Each group was given a task to build a “Glider/Aircraft� - an inexpensive engine less flying air craft. Materials: Must: Stick(6), Cardboard(2) and Trap; Optional: Thread and Duct Tape

After a certain time, siren went off and they were given maximum one minute to attack other group glider by throwing ping-pongs balls to bring their glider down. When the siren stops, they needed to back to their glider, rebuilt if broken and try to complete it. During this brainstorming activity, it was all about creating ideas and then destroying, reconfiguring, rebuilding. Goal: Learn how to handle stress and encourage team dynamics.


Goal and Outcome:

The first and foremost goal of this activity is to learn team work. From this activity the participants learnt “how to handle failure?� and that perseverance is one of the key to success.

Time Constraint:

The Fun activity of building a glider was all of sudden became a challenge with the imposed real-time constraints. This added stress helped them to generate quick ideas and help them to learn time management.

Brainstorming:

Teams began to brainstorm on how to utilize the three must material in their glider. This led to argument and disagreements in some groups but eventually they end up with collaborative design.

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Free Rider:

The groups consisted of 4-5 members. In bigger groups some participants of the group seemed essentially relaxed and seem to rely on others to come up with new ideas.

External Stressor:

Noise especially in form of siren was a potent stressor during the activity. Participants learnt how to manage stress and keep their concentration on building the craft; while protecting their craft and attacking other teams.

Test Phase:

The primary purpose of the Test Phase was to determine the performance of their creative crafts. This gave the participants Intrinsic motivation and sense of satisfaction in completing a glider whether it flies or not.


Warm-Up

ACTIVITY OUTCOME

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Terminator

Blue Falcon


The Kite

The Wright

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Visual Storytelling ACTIVITY - DAY 2

Fighting Suicides Epidemic Duration: 40 minutes

This was a 2-step creative problem solving process, it included the following: 1. Fact Finding: 15 minutes

In the first activity, all participants brainstormed the “Risk factors and Warning signs of Suicide” in a group. They were provided a working wall with four categories – Situational, Behavioral, Emotional and Verbal. They were given four colored sticky notes for each category – Green for situational, blue for behavior, red for emotional and yellow for verbal. 2. Idea Finding: 25 minutes

Participants were asked to make a group of three and pick one warning from each category. Post it on their poster board as these became the warning signs of their troop at risk. They were asked to develop diagram to brainstorm ways in which they can help him. Goal: Learning resilience and perseverance by indentifying warning signs andsolving scenario


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Fact Finding

The best way to minimize the risk of suicide is to know the risk factors and to recognize the warning signs of suicide. Taking these signs seriously in any organization and knowing how to respond to them is very important, it could save someone’s life.


Individual Brainstorming:

The purpose of individual brainstorming was to provide every participant the freedom to express ideas without fear of negative response. An idea that they may be hesitant to bring up in a group brainstorming session may come to fruition during the individual brainstorming process.

Working Wall:

The working wall allowed crosspollination between different risk factors and warning signs, allowed participants to connect the dots and think non-linearly. Soon the main question became “What isn’t on the wall now?”

Examples of Responses:

Situational: ‘Financial hardship’, ‘loss of a loved one’, ‘relationship’, ‘Separation’, ‘Absence from work’, ‘feel less physically capable’ Emotional: ‘Anxiety’, ‘Depression’, ‘hopelessness’, ‘Emptiness’, ‘Restless’, “Sense of failure’, ‘lack of sleep’, ‘Confusion’

Behavior: ‘Social withdrawal’, ‘Drug and Alcohol abuse’, ‘Not taking care of themselves e.g. Hygiene, grooming, health, etc.’

Verbal: “I just want to end it all”; “I can’t handle this”; “Maybe you are better of without me”

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Idea Finding If someone is showing warning signs of suicidal behavior, what is the responsibility of the fellow service member? How can they help or what to do to help? Taking action is always the best choice, but what kind of actions? Suicide is preventable, it’s always important to assess, treat and intervene in helping someone in crisis.

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Names from Left to Right

TEAM ONE: A1C Sean Foley A1C Jay Fuller A1C Megan Brill

TEAM TWO: A1C Robert Hall A1C Phillip Switzer A1C Decarlo Watson

TEAM THREE: A1C Nichdas Bogard A1C Michael Purcell A1C Sterling Brisbin


TEAM ONE

TEAM TWO

TEAM THREE

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TEAM FOUR : A1C Dwayne Hewan A1C William Ferris A1C Ryan Moore

TEAM FIVE : AB Aaron Dane A1C Caitlin Curran A1C Marvin Smith

TEAM SIX : A1C Islen Billingsley SRA Julian Broaddus A1C Elton Huff


TEAM FOUR

TEAM FIVE

TEAM SIX

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Visual Storytelling ACTIVITY OUTCOME


Challenge - Choice Outcome:

Participants needed to think and talk through their new information in order to understand them. It was important that participants were given a chance to be heard about what they think and what they’ve learned. By sharing it aloud, they gained more importance and legitimacy to their challenges, choices and outcomes.

Implementation:

The different outcome brainstormed by the participants can easily be implemented at their work for prevention, intervention, and treatment activities, which could prove effective in prevention of suicide and suicide attempts.

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Reflection

FOR FACILITATING RESILIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE WORKSHOP

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Feedback FROM PARTICIPANT


Interview

FROM A1C STERLING BRISBIN

1. What did you learn from the workshop day 1? And day 2?

I enjoyed both days of the workshop. Building the glider was fun and challenging due to imposed time constraints and added stress. It was also interesting to see how groups created their own structures/assigned people specific tasks and roles. The best part of the second day was using creativity to organize our ideas in any way we wanted to. 2. Can you apply any skills learned from workshop in the future? If yes, any scenario?

Having a more creative approach to organizing ideas or brainstorming solutions is a good thing to practice and it was great to see what ideas other people in the class came up with. Being able to examine other peoples’ problem solving methods can help you refine your own. 4. Do the ideas you brainstormed for suicide prevention can be implemented at your workplace?

Absolutely. Most of our ideas should be things that people are already doing, especially our NCOs and Officers but sometimes things fall between the cracks or go unnoticed or are forgotten because of high ops tempo or being overwhelmed with other work. 5. Any feedback on the workshop.

Workshop was a great addition to FTAC. In my opinion it was the most interesting and one of the more useful activities/ briefings we had that week.

Other interviews included in presentation..

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Conclusion

WORKSHOP AS LEARNING EXPERIENCE

One of the more important results that we gained from this workshop was the understanding the importance of having the ability to bounce back from adversity. Resilient people are able to utilize their skills and strengths to cope and recover from problems and challenges, which may include job loss, financial problems, illness, natural disasters, medical emergencies, divorce or death of a loved one or finally on-going war.

Building resilience is important in organizations like USAF;

it does not eliminate stress or erase life’s difficulties. Instead, it gives airmen the strength to tackle problems head on, overcome adversity and move on with their lives. It was clear from the workshop’s outcome that the factors that protect airmen against suicidal behavior include social support and their relationships with other service member or family, as well as a broad repertoire of coping, help-seeking and problem-solving skills.


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Thank You!

by SONIA GHAZALI DMGT 732 FACILITATING CREATIVE THINKING | SPRING 2013 | PROF, MARIAH HAY


Facilitating Resilience and Perseverance