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Army Focuses on Reducing Suicides

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We’ve just begun the Army’s Suicide Prevention Month – next week marks National Suicide Prevention Week – and the service is cranking up its suicide-prevention efforts:

The Army will expand its observance with events occurring during the entire month of September, focusing efforts on total Army family well-being, resilience, stigma reduction, and positive results achieved by getting involved and reaching out for help.

…the service says.

Last month, the Army announced that there were 38 suspected suicides in its ranks, an all-time record, and roughly 50% higher than recent months’ toll.

Next Monday, September 10, Army Secretary John McHugh will join with the nation’s leading suicide fighters to release the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Nothing suicide-related is slated for the next day – 9/11 – but the Army will hold a health fair in the Pentagon courtyard dedicated to reducing suicides September 12 and 13.

Then there’s the Pentagon’s suicide prevention webpage. If that’s not sufficient, the Army has set up its own.

The Army’s No. 2 officer, General Lloyd Austin, has ordered a suicide-prevention “stand down” to take place across the service on Sept. 27 – Shoulder to Shoulder, We Stand up for Life, is its theme.

“Leaders across our Army recognize that the health of our Soldiers, Army civilians, and family members is a top priority,” said Austin, the vice chief of staff. “We remain committed to doing what is needed to care for our most precious asset — our people — thereby ensuring a healthy and resilient force for the future.”

Finally, the Army surgeon general, Lieut. General Patricia Horoho, has issued a video on the topic.

Never forget: if you’re thinking of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, and press “1”.

3 comments
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themilitarysuicidereport
themilitarysuicidereport

The problem is not what the Army is doing right within the arena of suicide prevention, the problem is what they are not doing right. This point is driven home in the never-ending flow of examples where the system failed or was not accessible for a particular soldier who ended up taking their own life. It seems obvious that there is an extraordinary gap between what the Army say is it's policy related to suicide prevention and mental health treatment -- the "It's OK to ask for help policy" -- and what soldiers actually encounter when they do step forward and self identify as having problems. It is doubtful there will be any significant improvement to the effort to stop soldiers from killing themselves until commanders are held accountable for the results of their suicide programs and policy enforcement.

anonguest7619
anonguest7619

As long as the DoD continues to link security clearances to treatment (question 21 on the SF 86 asks whether you have seen a MH professional in the last 7 years. though combat trauma, grief, and family counseling are exempt, ALL OTHER COUNSELING to include rape, depression, etc,  MUST BE REPORTED) people will be deterred from getting the help they need or, start help and stop when they start to feel better because they are worried about losing their jobs.

LastWaltz
LastWaltz

What we're thinking of doing is shredding our Army settlement agreement and going public that day for speaking out on the subject of preventable suicides in a particular Army command, that has resulted in unrelenting reprisal and our case picked up mysteriously again by the DOD Hotline.  Thanks for the information!