The Army released suicide data today for the month of January. Among active-duty soldiers, there were 12 potential suicides: one has been confirmed as suicide, and 11 remain under investigation. For December, the Army reported ten potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, three have been confirmed as suicides, and seven remain under investigation.
During January 2010, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were 15 potential suicides. For December, among that same group, there were seven total suicides. Of those, five were confirmed as suicides and two are pending determination of the manner of death.
“In the new year, we won’t just maintain our current focus on suicide prevention, we’re going to sharpen that focus,” said Col. Christopher Philbrick, director, Army Suicide Prevention Task Force. “We’ve made significant changes in our health promotion, risk reduction, and suicide prevention programs, policies, and initiatives. But over the last year, you could describe our Army effort as shining a flood light on the problem of suicide. Now in 2010, we’re going to move from a flood light to a laser light— identifying our most effective programs, so we can target and reinforce what’s working and fix what isn’t.”
In January, the Suicide Prevention Resource Council and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention selected the Army’s “Ask, Care, Escort” model for inclusion in their national registry of programs reflecting “best practices” in suicide prevention. The Army’s model is one of only thirteen suicide prevention programs, nationwide, included in the registry.
“One suicide prevention approach that is working is the Army’s ‘Ask, Care, Escort’ model of suicide prevention,” said Philbrick. “The ‘Ask, Care, Escort’ model is fundamentally about engaged, concerned leadership, and caring for your fellow soldier. That’s something the Army knows how to do.”
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. Army Knowledge Online is required to download materials.
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, 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 Web site for dialing instructions for their specific location.
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 .
The Army's comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/default.asp .
More information about the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is located at http://www.army.mil/csf/ .