By Mr. Paul Boyce (FORSCOM)October 23, 2008
In a signing ceremony Oct. 23 at the Pentagon, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., and Dr. Thomas R. Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, signed a Memorandum of Agreement to conduct research to help the Army prevent suicides.
"The National Institute of Mental Health has the world's finest researchers in mental health, said, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. "We are pleased to partner with them in our ongoing efforts to prevent the tragedy of suicide. This collaboration offers an opportunity to make great advances in the understanding of suicide and develop prevention programs and practices."
The National Institute of Mental Health is part of the National Institutes of Health.
The five-year study will allow the two organizations to examine factors impacting the mental and behavioral health of Soldiers across the continuum of service; from new recruits, to Soldiers in the deployment cycle, to Soldiers separating and reintegrating into civilian life.
This major research initiative is part of the Army's ongoing efforts to prevent suicide, working within the Army and with partners in the civilian sector that have expertise to help the Army address this critical issue.
"The Army is committed to providing the best resources for suicide awareness, intervention, prevention and follow-up care - all of which are critical in helping Soldiers and family members prevent unnecessary loss of life," said Gen. Casey.
The Army's G1 is preparing to launch a new and improved suicide prevention campaign that emphasizes recognizing the signs of suicidal behavior and empowering Soldiers to intervene in order to help their fellow Soldier. Soldiers and Family Members will be taught the skills and knowledge to help themselves and their loved ones overcome difficult times. The campaign will emphasize that "Shoulder-to-Shoulder, No Soldier Stands Alone.""