October 25, 2010

Army Continues its Intense Focus on Suicide Prevention Efforts

Army Releases September Data

The Army released suicide data today for the month of September. Among active-duty soldiers, there were 18 potential suicides: none have been confirmed as suicides, and all 18 remain under investigation. For August, the Army reported 13 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, seven have been confirmed as suicides, and six remain under investigation.

During September 2010, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were eight potential suicides. For August, among that same group, there were 11 total suicides. Of those, four were confirmed as suicides and seven are pending determination of the manner of death.

“On Sept. 29, the Army Vice Chief of Staff signed the charter for the Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention Council and Task Force. These two groups are actively engaged in analyzing, shaping and implementing the more than 350 recommended changes to Army policy, procedures and processes proposed in the Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention Report released last July,” said Col. Chris Philbrick, deputy director, Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction Task Force.

“The overarching goal of this concerted effort is to reduce instances of high-risk behavior among our soldiers, civilians and family members, who continue to serve under a high operational tempo, while reducing the stigma associated with help-seeking behavior. These aspects are key components of the Army’s Health Promotion, Risk Reduction Campaign Plan,” Philbrick said.

The Army continues its intense focus on suicide prevention efforts, beginning with the formation of the Suicide Prevention Task Force in early 2009, the partnership with the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct a five-year study of Army suicides, and the release in July of the Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention Report, a candid report intended to inform and educate Army leaders on the importance of recognizing and reducing high risk behavior.

Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact Military OneSource or the Defense Center of Excellence (DCoE) for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Outreach Center. Trained consultants are available from both organizations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.

The Military OneSource toll-free number for those residing in the continental U.S. is 1-800-342-9647; their Web site address is http://www.militaryonesource.com. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource website for dialing instructions for their specific location.

The Army’s comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/default.asp .

Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in newly revised Army Regulation 600-63 (Health Promotion) at: http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r600_63.pdf and Army Pamphlet 600-24 (Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention) at http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/p600_24.pdf.

Suicide prevention training resources for Army Families can be accessed at http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/training_sub.asp?sub_cat=20 (requires Army Knowledge Online access to download materials).

The DCoE Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-1020, via electronic mail at Resources@DCoEOutreach.org and at http://www.dcoe.health.mil.

Information about the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is located at http://www.army.mil/csf.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: http://www.afsp.org.

Suicide Prevention Resource Council: http://www.sprc.org/index.asp.

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