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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — September marks National Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide is a complex issue, that is the result of many different internal and external factors, ranging from mental health to family, relationship, financial and legal troubles.

The Brandon Act was initially introduced in June 2020, and passed into law in December 2021, as part of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, to encourage service members to seek mental health evaluations and streamline processes. In May 2023, the Department of Defense published additional guidance, assigning roles and responsibilities to those involved in MHEs.

Firearms are the primary mode of suicide, and safe storage is critical to deter or decrease the likelihood of carrying out a suicide attempt. Drugs and alcohol impair judgment and add risk to every activity; therefore, refrain from their consumption if you are struggling with thoughts of self-harm.

We ask commanders to know their teammates and their goals and challenges. Suicide prevention is a group effort, in which everyone plays a critical role. Know what the signs are and provide resources for those with risk factors. Every single suicide is a tragedy, and we encourage all service members to review the Army’s new Suicide Prevention Policy (AR 600-92) and know what resources and tools are at your disposal.

Fort Leonard Wood has a multitude of programs, organizations and counselors available to service members and their families, who might be struggling with stressors and considering self-harm. They include:

  • Family Advocacy Program - 573.569.1507
  • Armed Forces Wellness Center - 573.596.9677 (stress, sleep and nutritional management classes)
  • Army Community Service - 573.596.2012 (Army Emergency Relief, Financial Readiness Program, Exceptional Family Member Program and Relocation Readiness Program)
  • Legal Assistance Office - 573.596.0629
  • Employee Assistance Program (for DOD civilians) - 573.596.7199
  • Army Substance Abuse Program - 573.596.0938
  • Substance Use Disorder Clinical Care - 573.596.0522
  • Behavioral Health Service Line - 573.596.0522
  • On-call Chaplain - 573.563.6126

On Sept. 7, please join the Army Substance Abuse Program and multiple other agencies from around the installation from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Gerlach Field for the Second Annual Field Day for Suicide Prevention. This event is free and open to the whole community. It will include team-building activities and traditional field day games designed to strengthen your team bond and connectedness.

The National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline number is 988; call 1.800.273.8255 or text 838255 for the Veteran’s Crisis Line. Military OneSource also provides free and confidential 24/7 support to service members and their families at 1.800.342.9647. You can also visit the Army Resiliency webpage for additional help and resources.

For any member of our team struggling with issues, it is important to seek help and we — your chain of command and peers — want you to seek help. Stay connected with your support network and never downplay your importance to the team and mission — you are a light in somebody’s life, and we are very proud to serve with each of you.

Victory Starts Here — Victory Through Skill!

Be All you Can Be!