WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army is implementing a public health approach to suicide based on Centers for Disease Control suicide prevention efforts.
The new, comprehensive and integrated policies focus on prevention rather than intervention – and are outlined in the forthcoming Army Suicide Prevention Program regulation scheduled to be published in the first quarter of 2022.
Gen. Joseph M. Martin, Vice Chief of Staff, led a chain teach initiative which will soon reach the most junior leaders in teams and squads to ensure consistent implementation of the Army Suicide Prevention Program across the force. The intent of this chain teach is for in-person training of every leader in the Army.
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The active-duty Army will complete the chain teach by March 1, 2022, while reserve components will finish by Sept. 1, 2022.
While leaders will have discretion to tailor the discussions with their soldiers, the suicide prevention training must, at a minimum, address the following topics:
- Leader visibility tools and processes for recognizing risk and protective factors
- Identifying available resources
- Engaging in targeted prevention
- Implementing early intervention strategies
- Accomplishing post prevention actions
Leaders are also required to discuss stigma reduction methods, and the Army’s efforts to foster cohesive and inclusive teams.
To support this initiative, the Army provided commanders with briefing slides and a script to generate the discussion with their soldiers and copies of the Army’s new Senior Commander and Unit Commander Implementation Handbooks.
For more information about the Army’s Suicide Prevention Program, you can contact the Army G-1 PAO Maj. Angel L. Tomko at email@example.com, and the OCPA Personnel Team PAO Lt. Col. Gabriel J. Ramirez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a prevention network of 161 crisis centers that provides a 24/7, toll-free hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. If you need help, please call 1-800-273-8255.