RISK REDUCTION AND SUICIDE
These talking points are designed to assist leaders during leader-led discussions.
- The Army experienced its second highest year of suicides in CY 2011, slightly down from its record year in 2010. Other indicators of high-risk behaviors such as drug use, suicide attempts, and accidental overdose continue to be a challenge and have contributed to the escalating number of cases for 2012.
- The Army continues to institute a multi-disciplinary, holistic approach to health promotion, risk reduction, and suicide prevention that accounts for the many challenges our Soldiers, Families and Army Civilians face. The composition of the various working groups from the Army Staff down to the installation staff are a reflection of this multi-disciplinary approach.
- Ensuring that all Soldiers have prompt access to quality behavioral health care, multi-points screening and documentation of mild traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress, and improved leader awareness of high-risk behavior are key elements of the Army's approach.
- Every single suicide is a tragic loss to the Army family.
- To prevent future tragedies the Army is working hard on several fronts to help Soldiers and their Families deal with the challenges they face. The Army's suicide prevention strategy includes enhancing leaders' awareness and responses concerning their Soldiers' high-risk behavior; decreasing the stigma about getting help; increasing screening for brain injury and post-traumatic stress; and improving access to care.
- The Army takes a holistic approach to health promotion, risk reduction and suicide prevention. It takes into account such things as financial worries, relationship issues, legal trouble, substance abuse, and medical problems.
- The Army has strengthened its diagnosis and treatment of Soldiers through increased screening of both their physical and behavioral health. It occurs before, during, and after their deployments. For example, we now check, using standardized procedures, every Soldier exposed to an event that can cause concussions.
- Suicide is a very complex problem; there isn't one single cause. Each death from suicide is as unique as the individual.
- The Army partners with top behavioral health professionals and organizations. One key partner is the National Institute of Mental Health. It is conducting the largest behavioral health study of risk and resilience factors among military personnel ever undertaken. This study is one of 26 suicide prevention and intervention research projects the Army is managing.