By YVONNE JOHNSON, APG NewsSeptember 11, 2008
With the theme: "Shoulder-to-Shoulder: No Soldier Stands Alone," the U.S. Army and the Installation Management Command are encouraging awareness by Soldiers, family members and civilians about programs, training and resources available to assist in suicide prevention.
Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 7 to 13 and the World Suicide Prevention Day is Sept. 14. The National Guard and Army Reserve will host a month-long observation, Sept. 6 to Oct. 5.
"The loss of any American Soldier's life is a great tragedy and a matter of concern, regardless of the cause," said Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, Army deputy chief of staff for Personnel. "And in the case of suicide, as an Army, we are committed to providing prevention and intervention resources."
Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff, said that the theme, embodies the Army values of Selfless Service, Integrity and Personal Courage.
"It means doing the right thing and taking steps necessary to make sure your buddy, family members or civilian personnel get the appropriate support he or she may need, especially when you know someone is having a tough time with a personal matter," Chiarelli said.
Throughout the month of September, the APG News will provide information focused on the Army's message that "Everyone - Soldiers, families, Army civilians and employers - needs to be involved in suicide prevention" and that no Soldier has to "go it alone."
Information will include the actions the Army is taking to decrease the stigma of Soldiers seeking mental health care and the steps the Army is taking to reduce suicidal behavior, including encouraging personnel and family members to seek appropriate solutions to their concerns.
The overarching goal is educating Soldiers, families and civilians about the world class programs, training and resources in place to assist in suicide prevention and creating greater awareness about the warning signs of suicide and the appropriate responses that can save a person's life.
In addition to the APG News, information about suicide awareness and prevention can be found on the following Web sites: the Army G1 Suicide Prevention Web site, http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/default.asp and Army Knowledge Online, https://www.us.army.mil/suite/portal/index.jsp.
Also, the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine Web site, http://usachppm.apgea.army.mil/dhpw/readiness/suicide.aspx, provides links to suicide prevention resources and training products including the ACE card (Ask, Care, Escort), a training tool to help increase awareness and intervention skills for junior leaders to help train their Soldiers.
For more information, visit the Army Behavioral Health Web site at www.behavioralhealth.army.mil.
For a list of resources and events for Army National Guard and Reserve components visit http://virtualarmory.com/wellbeing/suicide.aspx.
The Army G-1 stand is that, "Suicide is a preventable tragedy and that every effort must be made to understand and inform Army personnel of the risk factors involved, to train Soldiers to intervene and to make them aware of professional help at every level."
According to the National Suicide Prevention Alliance, "When given a chance, life usually prevails."