MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. --
McConnell Air Force Base is one of several Air Mobility Command installations utilizing the Air Force’s newest virtual reality suicide prevention training.
The 30-minute training provides a fully immersive experience that involves Airmen wearing a headset and entering a virtual training scenario where they interact with an Airman in distress.
“The virtual reality training is actually a skill building process,” said Sara Sell, 22 Air Refueling Wing violence prevention integrator. “Instead of hearing about suicide prevention you’re actually practicing suicide intervention with guidance along the way.”
Voice prompts are incorporated into the training that Airmen can choose from to guide and assist through the scenario. The training is unique in that is requires participants to vocally engage with the program, to promote comfortability with difficult conversation.
“It felt so realistic,” said Col. Richard Tanner, 22 Air Refueling Wing commander. “I became emotionally attached to the person in this scenario.”
Airmen will have the opportunity to complete the training in private. Facilitators will be on standby in case Airmen have an emotional response, have any questions or experience technical difficulties with the program said Sell.
Currently, the VR training is approved to be one of four options Airmen can choose from to fulfill their annual suicide prevention training.
“So far the things I hear are ‘This is the best suicide training I’ve ever done, or ‘I feel better prepared to enter a scenario with an Airman in distress’,” said Sell.
As AMC continues to test the Airman-Airman module, soon there will be three more modules available that will give first sergeants, spouses and leadership the skills they need to handle scenarios unique to them.
“I think it will give Airmen a better connection to each other and a willingness to engage,” said Tanner. “They will know that they are capable to handle this situation and be invested in this person’s well-being.”
If any Airmen would like to schedule VR training, please contact Sara Sell at 316-759-6557.