Health & Safety

June 15, 2012

Panetta calls for leadership on suicide prevention

by Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, in an internal memo written last month, addressed the issue of military suicides, calling it one of the most complex and urgent problems facing the department, a Pentagon spokesman said.

In a briefing with reporters, Navy Capt. John Kirby confirmed the accuracy of numbers in news reports indicating that military suicides have risen 18 percent, from 130 in the period from Jan. 1 to June 3, 2011, to 154 in the same period this year.

“We’ve said for many years now how deeply concerned we are about the tragedy of suicides in the military and we recognize that the numbers are going up,” Kirby said.

“If you just compare this year’s numbers … compared to 10 years ago, they’ve doubled,” he added, “and each one is a tragedy.”

Referring to Panetta’s May 10 memo on suicide prevention for Defense Department personnel, Kirby said the secretary makes clear that suicide prevention is, first and foremost, a leadership responsibility.

“To that end,” Panetta wrote, “leaders throughout the chain of command must actively promote a constructive command climate that fosters cohesion and encourages individuals to reach out for help when needed.”

In the memo, he notes that the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness established a Defense Suicide Prevention Office to serve as the focal point for suicide prevention policy, training and programs.

The DOD Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide, established in 2009, recommended the creation of such an office in its 2010 report, “The Challenge and the Promise: Strengthening the force, Preventing Suicide and Saving Lives.”

The suicide prevention office, Panetta wrote, will collaborate with military departments to implement the recommendations of the DOD Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide and serve as the DOD lead with the Veterans Affairs Department and nongovernment organizations on suicide prevention.

“We understand there is a stigma to mental health issues that regrettably persists,” Kirby said.

“The secretary wants to make it very clear to everybody in uniform and their families that there’s nothing stronger you can do for yourself and your family than to come forward and seek some help and seek the counseling that you need,” he added. “And you’ll get it from the department.”




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


 
 

 
Brigade3

News from the 304th Sustainment Brigade’s Facebook page

Army Reserve Pvt. 2nd Class Kiet Duong, a culinary specialist with the 387th, sifts flour through a sieve during the competition. Duong, a Garden Grove, Calif., native, used the flour in the baked wheat rolls and Boston cream c...
 
 
Courtesy photo of Marine Maj. Bridget Guerrero (ret.)

Marine vet honors fallen female troops with 160-mile run

Courtesy photo of Marine Maj. Bridget Guerrero (ret.) Marine Maj. Bridget Guerrero (ret.) ran 160 miles around the Puget Sound in Washington from July 23-26, 2015. Each mile represented a female service member who lost her life...
 
 
150725-F-RK887-023

Swarz assumes command of 452nd Security Forces Squadron

The 452nd Security Forces Squadron held an Assumption of Command ceremony at the Cultural Resource Center here on Saturday, July 25, 2015. During the ceremony Lt. Col. Arthur J. Rodi, deputy commander, 452nd Mission Support Gro...
 

 
Air-Show-Poster-602x879

Final week: Design the Airshow Poster contest

March Air Reserve Base is holding a design contest for the “March Field AirFest 2016: Thunder Over the Empire” poster. Everyone is eligible to enter. The winning designer will receive a 2016 AirFest package for a family of ...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS NEWS Are you aware that if you plan on transferring any or all of your educational benefits to your dependents, you MUST have a minimum of four years left in the military at the time of the transfer? The exception is if you are getting out due to reaching your high year of...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noelle Reyes

Massage therapy relaxes members during UTA

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Noelle Reyes Massage therapy students from The American College of Healthcare (ACH), Riverside, give complimentary massages to Team March members during a June 2015 Unit Training Assembly. As ...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>