VCSA Suicide Prevention Observance Message
September 8, 2009
As the nation prepares to observe National Suicide Prevention Week, I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for your dedication and hard work toward reducing suicides in our Army.
Since publishing the Army Campaign Plan for Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention (ACPHP) on 16 April 2009, we have implemented 123 improvements to our Army risk reduction and suicide prevention capability Army-wide.
Each of you is making a positive difference in reducing this unacceptable loss to our Army and our nation. However, suicide continues to plague our Army and we must remain cognizant of the problem and proactive in planning and executing our programs to reach our goals.
Since January 1, 2009, the Army has experienced 155 suicide cases, which include Active Duty (107) and Not on Active Duty (48) suicides. Forever, lives are changed of those who remain behind.
Our efforts to prevent suicide and to mitigate the contributing factors must be daily and enduring. Do not allow the events and activities of this special observance to be the single center of your attention.
I challenge you to make suicide prevention a daily occurrence on your Camp, Post and Station. First line supervisors, battle-buddies, friends and loved ones continue to be our first line of defense against this threat.
I encourage you to actively take advantage of honest open communication, mutual support, the different programs and resources that are available to Soldiers, Families and units to learn more about reducing and managing the different contributing factors that lead to suicide.
As we band together to face our physical enemies on the battlefield, we also must band together in confronting the enemy from within our ranks that is suicide.
"IMPROVING OUR SOLDIERS AND FAMILIES HEALTH: A HEALTHY FORCE COMBATING HIGH RISK BEHAVIORS."