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June Army suicide rate up

By Ed O'Keefe

By The Post's Greg Jaffe in Checkpoint Washington:

The U.S. Army suffered 32 suicides in June, the highest number for a single month since the suicide rate in the Army began to spike in January 2009.
The boost in the suicide rate for June is likely being driven by the "continued stresses on the force" caused by the Iraq and Afghan wars, said Col. Chris Philbrick, the director of the Army's suicide prevention task force. The Army has poured extensive manpower and money into getting a handle on the suicide rate, and until last month had begun to see some tentative signs that the suicide rate was trending downward among active duty troops.
The June numbers, however, represent a disappointing setback, and suggest that after nine years of combat, the Army is showing some serious signs of strain. The initial results from the first two weeks of July suggest that the suicide rate for this month will not be as high.

Continue reading at Checkpoint Washington >>>

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 16, 2010; 2:25 PM ET
Categories:  Military  
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Comments

There is still a great deal of stigma surrounding getting help. The Army needs to aggressively promote cultural change. That means not merely talking about it but incorporating support of Soldiers seeking mental health care into all efficiency reports.

(This means every EER, NCO-ER, and OER; see http://www.army.mil/info/organization/unitsandcommands/commandstructure/theoldguard/downloads/ar623_205.pdf).

Career Soldiers (i.e. the leaders that we need to reach), in particular, take these performance evaluations very seriously; they are closely linked to pay and advancement. This change should occur immediately, and not at the next revision several years from now; lives are at stake. There should be explicit language after the rated Army Value of RESPECT built right into every evaluation form; perhaps language under leadership [on the NCO-ER] as well.

There is a successful precedent: this is how the Army let Soldiers know that they were serious about EO/race relations.

Posted by: ArmyGI | July 16, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

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