DoD

September 6, 2013

Official notes progress in suicide prevention effort

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Making sure people know where to turn for help during a time of crisis is the continuing goal of the Defense Department’s suicide prevention program, the Pentagon official in charge of the effort said here Aug. 30.

In an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Jacqueline Garrick said DOD has a “plethora” of resources that are specific to service members and their families who have thoughts of suicide.

And while numbers are pending, Garrick said, DOD is “seeing a decrease in the number of suicides in the department overall.”

Senior Pentagon leaders have worked diligently for several years to erase the stigma of seeking help for mental health issues, and it appears to be paying off, she added.

“We’re seeing more people access help through the Military Crisis Line, and an increase in users for mental health (help) across the department,” she said.

Those are good signs that DOD’s messages are reaching the people who need help, she added, and that they’re taking advantage of the resources the department offers.

The message that seeking help is a sign of strength has resonated from the top down throughout the Defense Department, Garrick said, noting that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have sent that message repeatedly. President Barack Obama also made that point at Fort Hood, Texas, last year when he announced an executive order to improve access to mental health care for service members, veterans and military families, Garrick said. “So that message is resonating throughout the services, in our civilian and military forces,” she added.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, Garrick said. In keeping with the theme, “It’s Your Call,” Garrick emphasized that all service members, their families and friends should be aware of the Military Crisis Line, an immediate source of help that’s confidential and anonymous. Trained counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-8255.

In addition to the crisis phone line, she said, help also is available through the Military Crisis Line’s website at http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ActiveDuty.aspx, with access to counselors in person and through online chats and text messaging, she said.

In addition, DOD’s suicide outreach website at http://www.suicideoutreach.org/ has a family guide that offers steps to take when someone is in crisis. It also lists at-risk behaviors and other symptoms of a person who is potentially suicidal, Garrick said.

Family members also can use these resources to find help for themselves if they feel they’re feeling suicidal, Garrick said.

“Family members often don’t think those resources are there for their needs, so we want to encourage them (to use the resources that are available),” Garrick said. “If family members are depressed, stressed or feeling suicidal, we want them to get help for themselves, as well as for their loved ones.”

Research shows that treatment is successful when it’s given a chance, Garrick said.

“It does make a difference, and the resources are designed specifically to support service members who are deployed, those who have not deployed, those with (post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury), depression, substance abuse, financial problems and relationship problems,” she said.

“If you don’t get help, problems get worse, which can impact your career and your life overall,” she said. “It’s better to get help early and identify problems that are small, rather than wait until they get bigger, and then have things blow up and become more unmanageable.”

People with suicidal tendencies might need a break to “recap and recoup” their personal resilience and return to their regular schedules when they are more mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually fit to be more successful, Garrick said. And fostering service members’ sense of personal resilience is paramount to DOD senior leaders and to those throughout the chain of command, she added.

Resources for help don’t end with DOD and the services, Garrick said, noting that the Veterans Affairs Department also offers help.

Our service members don’t stay with us forever,” she noted, adding that Pentagon officials want them to have a successful transfer to VA as they leave the military and become veterans. “We want them to embrace their veteran status and get the help they need,” she said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)

9/11 Tower Challenge held at UofA

The Never Forgotten 9/11 Tower Challenge was held at the University of Arizona Football Stadium on Sept. 11. Approximately 350 participants, including personnel from D-M, attempted the challenge of climbing 2,071 stairs. This f...
 
 

Core elements work together

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — The Air Force has built a suicide prevention program based on 11 overlapping core elements that stress community involvement and leadership in the prevention of suicides in the military: Leadership involvement — Air Force leaders actively support the entire spectrum of suicide prevention initiatives in the community. Addressing suicide...
 
 

Keep sports safe

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Playing sports is fun and it helps people keep in shape and relieve stress. However, if one is not careful, playing sports can result in injuries that keep Airmen on the sideline and out of work. “The main cause of sports-related injuries is over aggressive play and people going...
 

 
DoD

Ice bucket challenge – What does DOD say?

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — If you have been following social media lately, you’ve seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge all over your newsfeed and Instagram. This has become an internet phenomenon in which people get doused with ice water to raise money to combat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease....
 
 

Air Force Enlisted Village: Not just a place to live, a place to call home

I first visited the Air Force Enlisted Village as a young first sergeant in 2009, when I was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. I went to visit with the Tyndall Active Airmen’s Association, Tyndall’s E-1 to E-4 Professional Association, and was amazed at what I saw. This was also the first time I...
 
 

Advise Airmen of rights before asking questions

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Every day supervisors are faced with challenging scenarios and situations that require them to engage in efforts to help their Airmen. When this engagement is due to a negative act such as theft, damage to property or other possible legal violations, we must resist the instinct to question them...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin