News Release: WARWICK CAMP, Bermuda – Soldiers in the Royal Bermuda Regiment will have direct access to people trained in crisis intervention techniques after five senior staff completed a course on Critical Incident Stress Management.
The RBR took part in the programme for the first time so that it is better equipped to support members who experience shock or trauma.
Captain Jason Harrell, who is Second-in-Command at the Coast Guard, said there had been an understanding with police that trained counsellors could be lent to the Regiment if required.
He added: “Because CISM is supposed to be a peer-to-peer system, we decided that we needed to start developing our own in-house programme.”
Capt Harrell explained: “This is the first step in getting people formal training.
“Up until now, there has been reliance on the senior non-commissioned officers, mostly the warrant officers, who have years and years of not only military experience but life experience, so they’ve been able to do some counselling for soldiers.”
He said that members of the Regiment faced more stressful incidents with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, including when two soldiers were hit by a car at a checkpoint in June 2020.
Capt Harrell added: “That was heartbreaking seeing the soldiers that had been there with them when they came back to camp that night.
“We’ve had divers who have had to do body recoveries, and different things affect people differently.”The two-day course was facilitated by Dr Mira Ingemann, of Moksha Therapeutics, last month, when staff from other agencies also took part. It included practices such as breathing methods and communication techniques and provided a deeper understanding of common reactions to crises.
Regimental Sergeant Major Luis Pereira, a Warrant Officer Class 1, was part of the RBR group along with Capt Harrell.They were joined by Warrant Officer Class 2 Chauncey Durham and Acting Warrant Officer Class 2 Runekco Edwards, the Company Sergeant Majors for A and B companies respectively, as well as Colour Sergeant Tyler Smith from the Coast Guard.
WO1 Pereira said the training was well-delivered and hopes more of the Regiment’s staff will have the opportunity to participate soon.
He explained: “From a different perspective, it also gets you into a bit of life coaching with everyday scenarios.
“We have some young men that come in to camp with some problems; they would normally go to their more senior soldiers, such as the company sergeant majors and company commanders.
“Now we are better prepared to provide them with support and assistance along the way.”
The RSM added: “Sometimes people may believe that they want to talk to somebody from outside of the organisation but we tend to rely on the fact that we’re all in uniform, we all serve together, so at some point in time, I would know what you’re going through as far as your service life is concerned.
“We’re here to provide that support should they need it.”
For more information or to join the Royal Bermuda Regiment, visit www.bermudaregiment.bm or call 238-1045.