Health & Safety

September 6, 2013

Official notes progress in suicide prevention effort

Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. – 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 donít stay with us forever,î she noted, adding that Pentagon officials want them to have a successful transfer to VA as they leave the military and become veterans. ìWe 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.


 
 

 
recall

Kidde recalls disposable plastic fire extinguishers due to failure to discharge

The Edwards AFB Fire Department has announced an important recall of Kidde plastic valve disposable fire extinguishers. The recall applies to both notify base residents and the local community. According to the Consumer Product...
 
 

Small increase to TRICARE pharmacy copays began Feb. 1

New copayments for prescription drugs covered by TRICARE went into effect Feb. 1. The Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act requires TRICARE to increase most pharmacy copays by $3. Drugs from military pharmacies and generic drugs from TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery still cost beneficiaries $0. TRICARE pharmacy copays vary based on the class of...
 
 
vaccine

Measles: Don’t wait, vaccinate

Air Force photograph The 412th Medical Group is urging individuals and parents to vaccinate themselves and their children if they are not immunized. Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus and is easily spread through dr...
 

 
MDG-no-show

Don’t be a ‘no show’

The 412th Medical Group is dedicated to meeting the health care needs of you and your family by providing access to its services and the best possible medical care. No shows are a costly problem for the 412th MDG and the patien...
 
 

TRICARE and the Affordable Care Act

With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, TRICARE beneficiaries may have questions about how it would affect them. The ACA and TRICARE are very different, governed by two different pieces of legislation so changes in one have no effect on the other. The intent of the Affordable Care Act,...
 
 
heart-month

AFMC promotes awareness of heart attack warning signs

February is American Heart Month. The National Institutes of Health reports that more than one million people in the United States have a heart attack each year. Of the people who die from heart attacks, about half die within a...
 




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>