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The Army Suicide Prevention Program and Where Do We Go From Here?

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Strategy research rept

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One of the greatest challenges facing commanders in the Army today is the increased rate of suicide by soldiers. Currently, the Army suicide rate is between 14.79 and 15.49 per 100,000. This statistic is staggering and one that most would find hard to accept in a military system that is based on self-discipline and a high level of physical and emotional training. The Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki has stated, It is our responsibility to help our soldiers and civilians understand how to identify at risk individuals, recognize warning signs and know how to take direct action. This is the reason for the Armys Suicide Prevention Program. This paper will make the case that prevention is not enough, but intervention must play a role in the commanders suicide prevention program. One of the best sources to help identify not only prevention issues, but also intervention ideas, is the soldier. A survey of approximately 300 soldiers was done as part of the research to support this paper. This research included both the active and reserve components. The results of this survey show that the Army has a need for an intervention plan within the current suicide prevention program. This program will consist of a person to talk to i.e., a hotline, a staff psychologist or chaplain available on call 24 hours. By having a person willing to listen the soldier knows someone cares about himher in their time of crisis. This phone call is a means to provide help in a hopeless situation and helps diffuse a potential full-blown crisis.

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  • Psychology

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