Suicide -when destructive thoughts turn to actions
August 12, 2009
- Four personal accounts, from four different angles on the topic, from four different military ranks--civilian side included.
- Interviews with miltiary and civilian behavioral health experts
- This story address Soldiers, AND civilian and families who may suffer
- To sidebars: one dispelling 201 file myths, #2 on where to go to seek help--including non mililtary souces listed in Army SPP 1/15/07.
1. "But my 201 file will show I've had mental health counseling!"
According to Rob Burns, Accessions Command G1, counseling for BH issues will not be noted in a Soldier's 201 file. Burns said that such counseling is medical in nature and no medical information can be placed in a 201 file. It is also a HIPPA violation.
However, any incidents a Soldier creates through poor performance or bad behavior may be listed in a 201 file as the outcome of an event.
2. "But anyone can put anything they want in my file!"
Army regulation 600-37 talks about what goes in a personnel file, including derogatory and unfavorable info. "The Army has to be very careful about what goes in a personnel file," Burns added. "Your official military jacket is a pretty important file and everyone sees it...You can get stuff expunged from it by going to the board of records."
3. "Ok, but anyone can see my medical records!"
No. What is included in a Soldier's medical file can only be accessed by doctors, or people who have the Soldier's permission to see the medical file. There are a few circumstances in which a commander can get access to a medical file. AR 600-8-104 also talks about what can go in that file.
4. "But my commander will retaliate against me."
No, according to Lt. Col. Frank King, Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for TRADOC.
"There cannot be-it would be a violation of the law to punish a soldier for seeking mental health support or for reaching out..."
"That question gets to the root of why we are doing what we are doing. We are concerned about this, take is seriously, and have the resources. Soldiers and leaders need to understand that it is a sign of strength that you know you need help and to reach out and get it."