By FORSCOMDecember 3, 2009
Family Suicide Prevention and Awareness Training
What is it'
The U.S. Army created a Suicide Prevention Task Force in the ongoing effort to decrease the number of suicides in the Army. One of the goals of the task force is to increase the number of available training programs, to include families. This family training is strictly voluntary, which includes the challenges of getting the training to families. Research shows families are aware of this training, but some have not attended the sessions.
What has the Army done'
In 2009, the Army launched several actions in support of suicide prevention, including these four:
(1) the EXORD (HQDA103-09) released in February encourages commanders to supply Army Family Readiness Groups (FRGs)and spouses with the suicide prevention training.
(2) Army Regulation 600-63, released in September, provides guidance for the execution of a Family Member Suicide Prevention Program (FMSPP), headed up by a Suicide Prevention Program Manager (SPPM) to increase understanding and knowledge of suicide and the warning signs.
(3) the Military Family Life Consultants (MFLC) Program uses licensed clinicians for behavioral health counseling sessions with active duty, National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers and their families.
(4) the TRICARE Assistance Program (TRIAP) offers online behavioral health resources to any active-duty servicemember and members of their family 18 years of age or older.
Why is this important to the Army'
Senior military leaders emphasize that seeking help when needed is a sign of personal strength; encouraging this behavior will contribute to a holistically healthy Army, one that is sound in body, mind and spirit. Including families in suicide prevention efforts encourages resiliency among the Soldiers and, overall, a healthy Army community.
What is planned for the future'
FORSCOM commanders should continue with their efforts encouraging the participation of families in suicide-prevention training. Each installation is implementing the FMSPP,and supplies necessary training programs and materials. Annual Phase III Sustainment Training, which reiterates the lessons learned in Phases I and II, will continue. By taking care of the Soldiers and families, the mission readiness of the Army will be much improved.
Army G-1 Suicide Prevention Web site
U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine