Suicide is a national public health problem from which the Army is not immune. People First is our philosophy. People – Soldiers, DA Civilians, Families, and Soldiers for Life – are our most important asset, and we are losing too many to Suicide.
The Army is committed to identifying and providing services and support to our teammates who may become vulnerable. In the face of additional stress of a pandemic, we are working to improve access to behavioral health care while enhancing our resilience training and stigma reduction efforts.
Through the “This is My Squad” initiative, we directed leaders to focus on developing deep inter-personnel connections at the lowest levels so they better know their teammates. Each individual Soldier or Army Civilian has a teammate, a family, and a leader. By establishing a connection between these key individuals in their lives, we establish a “Golden Triangle” around our people. If those connections exist, someone in the triangle will likely know if one of our teammates is struggling.
We need every member of the team engaged. To assist our leaders, front-line Soldiers and civilians, we are fielding better leader visibility tools, new awareness materials and an updated squad leader development course. These initiatives are integral to our efforts to equip leaders at all levels with creative, effective tools for building resilient, cohesive teams.
We need to look out for each other. We also want everyone to understand that seeking help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. There is confidential help available for Soldiers, Veterans and their families through the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, option 1 or by texting 838255.
There is no single explanation for suicide, but the loss of even one Soldier to suicide is too great. We will continue to look hard at ways we can promote a culture of resilience and increase help-seeking behaviors.
Ryan D. McCarthy
Secretary of the Army
James C. McConville
General, United States Army