By U.S. ArmySeptember 6, 2016
1. September has been designated as suicide prevention month. Suicide continues to be a challenge for our Army Family. It is devastating when one of our own whether a Soldier, Civilian or Family member is lost to suicide. Each tragic loss is preventable and I expect you to be aware of the risk factors and how to respond.
2. Leaders have the power and responsibility to protect Soldiers on and off the battlefield. This includes recognizing uncharacteristic and suicidal behaviors. Commanders, noncommissioned officers and supervisors must lead the way by demonstrating active listening and if necessary, escorting the individual to the appropriate agency. If an individual expresses suicidal ideations, the time to take action is NOW. Emphasize the fact that seeking help is a sign of courage, and there is no shame in asking for help.
3. There are a myriad of resources available to eliminate suicide. I urge all of you to get involved. There are Soldiers, Civilians and Family members in our ranks who feel that suicide is their best option. Every one of these individuals has a friend, battle buddy or a leader in a position to help. You may only have one chance to intervene and save a life.
4. As Army leaders it is our moral obligation to know our people, their strengths and vulnerabilities. It is our responsibility to promote an environment that reinforces our Army Family in which all members are valued and all life is treasured. I am calling on each and every Soldier, Civilian and Family member to make a difference. Each one of you is in a position to be our first line of defense. Together we will remain Army Strong.
BRYAN R. OWENS
Major General, USA