• Vicenza Military Community members gather around USAG Vicenza Commander, Col. David Buckingham, during the beginning of the garrison suicide stand down day Sept. 20. Buckingham emphsised that it is important to know how to help yourself and a friend as part of the Shoulder to Shoulder campaign "We stand up for life."

    Shoulder to shoulder

    Vicenza Military Community members gather around USAG Vicenza Commander, Col. David Buckingham, during the beginning of the garrison suicide stand down day Sept. 20. Buckingham emphsised that it is important to know how to help yourself and a friend as...

  • Vicenza Military Community members learn how to do yoga during the garrison suicide stand down day Sept. 20.

    Shoulder to shoulder we stand

    Vicenza Military Community members learn how to do yoga during the garrison suicide stand down day Sept. 20.

  • Right- Chris Wolff, Outdoor Recreation, talks with Vicenza Military Community members during suicide stand down day Sept. 20 about all of the great ODR programs that can help individuals get more out of life.

    We stand up for life

    Right- Chris Wolff, Outdoor Recreation, talks with Vicenza Military Community members during suicide stand down day Sept. 20 about all of the great ODR programs that can help individuals get more out of life.

9/27/2012 VICENZA, Italy- Every Soldier that joins the Army repeats the Soldiers' creed. "... I will not accept defeat. I will not quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade...." These words never rang more true.

With National Suicide prevention month ending, we find ourselves faced with overwhelming statistics. In a June issue of "The Stars and Stripes" the Pentagon released the staggering numbers of 154 suicides in only the first 155 days of the year. In the four years from 2004-2008 we saw an 80-percent increase in the military's suicide rate. In just one year from 2011-2012 we have seen a 18-percent increase. These numbers were enough to demand immediate attention and changes in our suicide prevention strategies.

The Army is improving its data collection to get a better grasp on and understanding of the causes and factors that are increasing our suicide rate. In aid to this the Army is also improving programs to better assist and intervene when Soldiers begin to have suicidal thoughts.

Ask Care Escort Training is a program offered through the Army, to bring awareness to the suicide uprise. ACE training aids suicide prevention by arming military personnel, families, and civilians with the ability to detect early warning signs and risk factors.

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training is also available through the Army to help our Soldiers, Families and civilians. The ASIST program is here to provide our gatekeepers with the suicide intervention tools that they need recognize and intervene when suicidal warnings signs arise.

Aside from these programs the Army is also concentrating on limiting weapons access to Soldiers. Another improvement that the Army is doing is to concentrate on reconnecting the Soldiers with their community.

Just as every Soldier vows to their country, to their fellow Soldiers, and to the Army's mission, the Army too vows to each Soldier. Suicide programs are only but one option that the Army offers for their Soldiers. Aside from programs that the Army has in place there are also other avenues that the Army is pursuing. Another approach to the problem is viewed through the medical eyes of the researchers from the University of Indiana's School of Medicine. The Army is offering $3 million to University of Indiana's School of Medicine to make sure that all options are carefully researched.

University of Indiana's School of Medicine's new nasal spray proves to be a solution to a long-term problem. Antidepressants work great to combat suicide thoughts, but it takes these drugs a little while to make their way to the brain, where the actual battle is happening. Now with a nasal spray harnessed with thyrotropin-releasing hormone, or TRH, we can get the drugs to the brain almost immediately to aid in the fight against suicide until the antidepressants can kick in.

Prescribed drugs, or antidepressants are not intended as a solution to the rise in suicide. The Army is focused on combating the factors that lead to suicide and suicidal thoughts. This is not a war that can be won in one battle, this is a fight that will be fought on all fronts. You have vowed to the Army, just as the Army vows to you. The Army's goal is not to place one bandage over an array of ailments. The Army's goal is to fix each piece, and gain knowledge from each experience.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please help the Army's fight. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 800-273-TALK (8255).

Page last updated Thu September 27th, 2012 at 00:00