USA — Official: Help Readily Available for Suicide Prevention

WASHINGTON — The num­ber of sus­pect­ed sui­cides increased among reserve-com­po­nent sol­diers last month as com­pared to the month pri­or, and the Army’s head of sui­cide pre­ven­tion stressed today the avail­abil­i­ty of help for all sol­diers and their fam­i­lies, par­tic­u­lar­ly dur­ing the Army’s peak tran­si­tion sea­son.

“The sum­mer sea­son tra­di­tion­al­ly rep­re­sents the Army’s peak tran­si­tion time­frame, as sol­diers, fam­i­lies and Depart­ment of the Army civil­ians relo­cate between com­mands and instal­la­tions,” Col. Chris Philbrick, direc­tor of the Army Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Task Force, said. “This tur­bu­lent peri­od often com­pounds the amount of stress faced by our Army and mem­bers of the Army fam­i­ly. Every­one needs to know that despite an increase of anx­i­ety or pres­sure, help is read­i­ly avail­able, espe­cial­ly dur­ing these tran­si­tion periods. 

“We are mak­ing every effort to main­tain con­tact with sol­diers, fam­i­lies and civil­ians and sus­tain the Army’s efforts to pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive behav­ioral health resources and sup­port,” he con­tin­ued. “We sim­ply can­not afford to have any mem­ber of the Army fam­i­ly fall through the cracks when deal­ing with the addi­tion­al stress transition.” 

Among active duty sol­diers, there were nine poten­tial sui­cides in May; all remain under inves­ti­ga­tion. For April, the Army report­ed 10 poten­tial sui­cides among active duty sol­diers. Since the release of that report, four have been con­firmed as sui­cides and six remain under investigation. 

Among reserve-com­po­nent sol­diers not on active duty, there were 12 poten­tial sui­cides in May; two have been con­firmed and 10 remain under investigation. 

Among that same group in April, there were sev­en poten­tial sui­cides. Of those, two were con­firmed as sui­cides and five still are being investigated. 

Sol­diers and fam­i­lies in need of cri­sis assis­tance are encour­aged to con­tact Mil­i­tary One­Source or the Defense Cen­ters of Excel­lence for Psy­cho­log­i­cal Health and Trau­mat­ic Brain Injury Out­reach Cen­ter. Trained con­sul­tants are avail­able from both orga­ni­za­tions around the clock, 365 days a year. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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