Army National Guard Resilience, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention Task Force
What is it'
The Army National Guard (ARNG) established a Resilience, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention (R3SP) Task Force to synchronize ARNG health promotion and risk reduction efforts, including procedures to review, assess, and manage Task Action Plans (TAPs) developed in conjunction with the Army's Health Promotion and Risk Reduction Council (HP&RRC).
What has the National Guard done'
The ARNG has made it our top priority to promote resilience and risk reduction and to correspondingly decrease suicidal ideations and actions. This includes enhancing the resilience of our Soldiers and families through institutionalized training, leadership awareness, and prevention and intervention programs.
The R3SP task force also began conducting biweekly meetings in January 2011 in synchronization with biweekly HP&RRC meetings. Additionally, the ARNG hired 54 suicide prevention program managers in the states and territories, has trained over 220 master resilience trainers (MRTs) and 80 resilience training assistants (RTAs) who are assigned to brigades, battalions, and companies, and also distributed two resilience and risk reduction guides-the ARNG Leader's Guide to Resilience and the Soldier-to-Soldier Peer Support Handbook.
What continued program efforts are planned for the future'
The task force anticipates developing and processing at least 300 ARNG TAPs as well as staffing HP&RRC TAPs for national and state R3SP programs. Our senior leaders recognize that ARNG families, peers, and employers provide the foundation and daily support network for each Soldier. In addition, the ARNG has increased the focus on substance abuse prevention. This includes awareness outreach to ensure a comprehensive team approach in reducing substance abuse and its inherent ties to behavioral health.
Our efforts to increase assets available to commanders to promote resilience include collaboration with national and community organizations such as the American Red Cross, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA), the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program (CSF), counselors, and clergy. The ARNG is also teaming with the Army to incorporate Traditional Drilling Guardsmen into future studies, such as the Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in our Service Members (STARRS).
Why is this important to the National Guard'
The quality of the citizen-Soldiers of the Army National Guard is unprecedented. However, it remains our top priority to promote resilience, reduce risk, and ensure we do not stigmatize help-seeking behavior. While we do not know definitively what triggers a suicidal thought or action, we do know that the stressors affecting a Soldier's outlook such as employment, relationships, and behavioral health issues must be identified and mitigated to promote a ready and resilience force.