Home > Culture, Current Events > Army Suicides Hit Record Mark…But Army Leaders Still Miss the Mark

Army Suicides Hit Record Mark…But Army Leaders Still Miss the Mark

January 20, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Today’s San Antonio Express-News reports that Fort Hood set a grim record in 2010 – most Soldier suicides ever for that installation.

The Army seems unable to figure out how to address the problem.  A recent report of a study conducted by the department of defense concluded that suicide prevention efforts are simply failing.

If I had a solution to the problem, I would certainly be sharing it with the world.  I don’t.  However, I have a good idea of what probably won’t work, which is all the things that the Army is doing.  Consider the following statement from the Reuters article on the DoD study:

“We have done all the right things but despite all the things we have done, suicide rates have risen, particularly in the Marines and Army,” said Colonel Charles Hoge of Walter Reed.

How can you be doing all the right things, yet fail?  Perhaps your FAILURES indicate that the things you are doing are not, in fact, the right things?  Denial is more than a river in Egypt, Colonel.  

Consider also the following tidbits from the San Antonio Express-News article:

[Army Vice Chief of Staff] Chiarelli told reporters that he believes the programs instituted by the Army in recent years have saved lives, but Col. Carl Castro, director of the medicine research program that established the suicide consortium, said no one is sure of their effectiveness.

“We think they’re effective,” he told the Express-News, “but we haven’t done the research to demonstrate that they may in fact be effective.”

Sounds like the Army is just hoping really, really hard that its suicide prevention programs are effective.  Maybe they should read General Sullivan’s book. Besides, what would lead COL Castro to think the programs are effective when they just set a record for most suicides?

The Army has pocket guides on suicide awareness

Oh, I feel so much better.

The post’s senior commander, Maj. Gen. Will Grimsley, ordered commanders to inspect soldiers’ cars and on- and off-post homes after four GIs committed suicide over three days in September.

I would really love for someone to tell me how coming to a Soldier’s home and violating his privacy will help prevent suicide.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Like I said, I don’t have all the answers.  My gut tells me that the stress created by deployments, along with the cultural stigmas associated with getting help from mental health professionals probably play a big part.  However, I have not done any research to back this up.

Even so, judging from the mindlessness of the what I’ve seen being done about this issue, it doesn’t appear that the Army has any more of a clue than I do.  Therefore,  I don’t hold out much hope for improvement anytime soon.

But, I’m really, really hoping hard that I am wrong.

Categories: Culture, Current Events
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  1. April 3, 2011 at 8:25 pm

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