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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”.

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