Campaign will take holistic approach to solve suicide problem
USArmy | April 27, 2009 at 07:17 amby
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General Chiarelli, the Chief of Staff of the Army, recently implemented new initatives and campaigns to combat suicide in the Army.
"There's no single answer to this problem," said Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Peter. W. Chiarelli. "This is a holistic problem, with holistic solutions and that's how we're going to approach it with this campaign plan."
The campaign plan will be implemented by the Army's Suicide Prevention Task Force, established March 6. In addition, the Army stood up a Suicide Prevention Council of senior leaders from across the Army headquarters, to ensure rapid progress in improving Army health promotion and risk reduction efforts.
"We've already identified about 250 specific tasks we can tackle that are in some way connected to improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of our Soldiers, families and Army civilian employees," said Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director, Army Suicide Prevention Task Force. "The mission of both the task force and the council is to rapidly complete these tasks. It's urgent that we take a comprehensive look at the many Army programs we have in these areas and ensure they're all coordinated, effective and up to date, and that Soldiers, family members, civilians and the Army community at large are aware of them."
The Suicide Prevention Task Force is chartered to review Army doctrine, policies, training programs and available resources to achieve a rapid and sustained improvement in the resiliency, life-coping skills and overall fitness of the Army community, said McGuire. Each area is also closely related to reducing the incidence of Army suicide.
A key component of the campaign plan includes getting immediate guidance out to Army installation, garrison and military treatment facility commanders so the improvements identified by the task force can be immediately implemented across the Army.
"It's important to understand that the Suicide Prevention Task Force is an interim organization, focused on achieving specific goals that we strongly believe will result in a reduction in the suicide rate within the Army," said McGuire. "Once the task force has accomplished these goals, we'll turn the overall health promotion, risk reduction and suicide prevention effort over to Army leadership, Army staff and major commands, who will then ensure these advances are permanent."
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