Greatest form of caring: Listening

  • Published
  • By Maj. Ashley Walker
  • 913th Airlift Group

Tech. Sgt. Caleb Black, 913th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, shared his thoughts about being a good wingman and helping others. He has been with the unit for six years as a traditional reservist.

The 913th Airlift Group will follow through with the Resilience Tactical Pause directive during the December unit training assembly. The time is sanctioned for units to develop resilient leaders through collecting feedback and concerns at all ranks.

“Sometimes people just want to vent their frustrations and issues to someone who will take the time to listen,” said Black. “Listening can be one of the greatest forms of caring.”

The RTP is not a duplication of training or a “down” day, but is a facilitated discussion assessing personal and community resources available. The goal is for all members to understand what is available and to assist fellow wingman to access support when in need.

“I’ve helped people get through life struggles by lending a listening ear and helping them meet their needs when possible. People feel vulnerable when they talk about their struggles,” said Black. “Rather than take a chance with an unknown outcome or response, people would rather just keep things to themselves and battle it as best they can.  I do my best to guide them to the resources that would help their particular issue.”

According to the American Psychological Association, resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone. Developing resilience is a personal journey. People do not all react the same to traumatic and stressful life events.

“I’d like my fellow reservists to know that they are not defined by their circumstances,” said Black. “Search within yourself and find something positive to highlight. You can overcome your obstacles.”

He goes on to encourage helping others who might be going through difficult times, acknowledging that we are not aware of everyone’s struggles. 

If you are someone you know is at risk, use the guidelines below to help save a life:

Ask. If you notice someone is struggling, check how they are feeling. Ask if they are considering suicide.

Listen. Hear their concerns. Assure them they aren’t alone.

Get help. If they are considering suicide take them to a medical facility or emergency department. In an emergency, call 911. Stay with them until help arrives.

If you are unsure exactly what to do you can also talk to a health care provider, chaplain or commanding officer. They can help.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.TALK (8255)

Other resources:

Psychological Health Advocacy Program Team Member:

24-Hour Message Line: 1 (866) 417-0707