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 September 10, 2010

Armywide News

September to be observed as
Suicide Prevention Month

By Suicide Prevention Task Force, U.S. Army

What is it?
The Army will demonstrate its ongoing commitment to enhancing Health Promotion / Risk Reduction / Suicide Prevention (HP/RR/SP) programs for Soldiers, Department of the Army (DA) civilians, and Families by observing Army Suicide Prevention Month, Sept. 1 - 30, in conjunction with National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 5 - 11. Suicide Prevention Month is an Armywide opportunity to raise awareness, understanding, and use of Army HP/RR/SP programs among our key internal and external audiences.

What has the Army done?
More than 160 Active-duty Soldiers committed suicide during 2009, continuing a five-year trend of increasing suicides in the Army. In response, the Army instituted a multi-level, holistic approach to HP/RR/SP that recognizes the many challenges our Soldiers, Families and Army civilians face.

Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff, U.S. Army, has said that “Soldiers today live a lifetime in their first six years of service; (they) experience more during their first enlistment than most of their civilian peers will in a lifetime.”

Army programs aim to assist Soldiers, Families and Army civilians with their “lifetime” of challenges, including substance abuse, financial and relationship problems, post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.

In spring 2009 the DA established the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force (ASPTF), an organization focused on promoting Soldier, civilian and Family wellness. The Army also launched the Army Campaign Plan for Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention (ACPHP) in an effort to better synchronize efforts between multiple programs focused on care and support services.

Since its inception, the ASPTF has identified and executed more than 240 improvements to Army HP/RR/SP efforts, and, in July, released the Army HP/RR/SP Report.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army will continue to strive to maintain a combat edge while reinforcing the garrison systems necessary to best care for Soldiers, DA civilians and families. It will do so by directly addressing the more than 240 recommendations made in the Army HP/RR/SP report released in July.

In August, the ASPTF was reorganized as the Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction Task Force, which now is responsible for implementing these recommendations.

Why is this important to the Army?
Reducing the incidence of suicide within the Army requires a holistic approach to improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of our Soldiers, Families and civilians. Focusing on the resiliency and positive life-coping skills of our Army Family will not only lower suicide rates, but will enhance the quality of life for our entire Army community.

For more information, visit the website http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/contactus.asp or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (crisis intervention)1-800-342-9647 Military OneSource (Resource Information). Suicide prevention is available at the website http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/training.asp.

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