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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 668-09
August 31, 2009

DoD Establishes Suicide Prevention Task Force

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs announced today the names of 14 members who will serve on the Department of Defense Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces. 

 

                The congressionally directed task force will address trends and causal factors, methods to update prevention and education programs, suicide assessment by occupation, suicide incident investigations, and protective measures for confidential information derived from investigations for the department.

 

                “One service member suicide is too many and DoD is taking a proactive and comprehensive approach towards prevention, with efforts to address the stigma of psychological health issues, reduce barriers to care and research best practices,” said Ellen Embrey, performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.  “The members of this task force have significant and varied experience in national suicide prevention, research, policy and clinical care that will play a critical role in guiding the Department of Defense in addressing this very serious issue.”

 

                The task force will operate within the Federal Advisory Committee Act guidelines as a subcommittee of the Defense Health Board, responsible to the Secretary of Defense, through the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs and the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

 

                Membership consists of, DoD and non-DoD experts, including at least one representative each from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps and one family member with a background in working with military families.

 

                The task force will present their findings and recommendations to the secretary of defense within twelve months.  Following review by the secretary, the task force’s report and recommendations will be sent to Congress.

 

The names and biographies of the task force members are available on the Military Health Care Web site at http://www.health.mil/dhb/subcommittees-tfpsmaf.cfm .