Updated: May 03, 2023 02:25 PM

The Royal Bermuda Regiment logo (photo courtesy of bermudaregiment.bm)

Soldiers in the Royal Bermuda Regiment will have direct access to people trained in crisis intervention techniques after five senior staff took part in a stress management course.

The senior staff completed a Critical Incident Stress Management programme to better support those who experienced shock or trauma. It was the first time the RBR had taken part in the course.

Captain Jason Harrell, second in command of the Coast Guard, said the training was necessary as soldiers faced more stressful incidents following the Covid-19 pandemic, including when two soldiers were hit by a car at a checkpoint in 2020.

He said: “That was heartbreaking seeing the soldiers that had been there with them when they came back to camp that night.“

Captain Harrell added: “We’ve had divers who have had to do body recoveries, and different things affect people differently.”

The two-day course involved staff from several agencies outside the RBR, and was overseen by Mira Ingehamm of Moksha Therapeutics.

It included practices such as breathing methods and communication techniques, and helped break down common reactions to crises.

Captain Harrell, who took part in the programme, said: “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.”

Regimental Sergeant Major Luis Pereira, a Warrant Officer Class 1 who took part in the training, said the programme was well-delivered and hoped that more RBR staff could participate soon.

He said: “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.”

He 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.”

Joining WO1 Pereira was Warrant Officer Class 2 Chauncey Durham, the Sergeant Major for Company A, Acting Warrant Officer Class 2 Runekco Edwards, the Sergeant Major for Company B, and Colour Sergeant Tyler Smith from the Coast Guard.

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