During June, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were five potential suicides: one has been confirmed as suicide, and four remain under investigation. For May 2011, the Army reported six potential suicides among not-on-active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, one case has been added for a total of seven cases. Two cases have been confirmed as suicide, and five cases remain under investigation.
“Early recognition of high risk behavior associated with administrative, legal and other disciplinary actions presents intervention opportunities for leaders, law enforcement personnel and service providers to mitigate negative outcomes, specifically suicidal behavior,” said Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director of the Army Health Promotion and Risk Reduction Task Force.
In response to this, the U.S. Army Military Police School has incorporated training into all professional military education courses to alert military police to the effects of stress caused by investigations or other disciplinary actions that can lead to acts of self harm.
McGuire, who is also the provost marshal general of the Army, recently implemented a new “Risk Notification Memorandum” to field commanders to highlight the potential risk to soldiers who are subject to a serious felony investigation. This notification is provided by Criminal Investigation Command to commanders upon the initiation of an investigation on one of their soldiers.
Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained consultants are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and can be contacted by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255), from OCONUS using the appropriate country access code, or by visiting their website at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org .
The Army’s comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at www.preventsuicide.army.mil
Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in newly revised Army Regulation 600-63 (Health Promotion) at: www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r600_63.pdf and Army Pamphlet 600-24 (Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention) at www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/p600_24.pdf .
Suicide prevention training resources for Army families can be accessed at www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/training_sub.asp?sub_cat=20 (requires Army Knowledge Online access to download materials).
Information about Military OneSource is located at www.militaryonesource.com or by dialing the toll-free number 1-800-342-9647for those residing in the continental United States. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource Website for dialing instructions for their specific location.
Information about the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is located at www.army.mil/csf .
The Defense Center for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-1020, via electronic mail at [email protected] and at www.dcoe.health.mil.
The website for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is www.afsp.org and the Suicide Prevention Resource Council site is found at www.sprc.org/index.asp.
The website for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors is www.TAPS.org, and they can be reached at -1-800-959-TAPS (8277).
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