COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) – The Army says suicide rates are down by 10 percent.
Joining the military can be a great transition for some and a very difficult one for others. That difficulty sometimes leads soldiers to take their own lives. However, the army reports as whole, suicides are down by 10 percent.
According to the Army Times, the Army reported 178 suicides last year. 164 were active duty; 114 were not on active duty.
In a report called the "Gold Book" the army has released their prevention plans to lower and possibly eliminate suicide all together. Here at home, 3rd Brigade chaplain Geoff Bailey says Fort Benning is using those measures to prevent suicide all together.
"We have a rather robust program here on the hill to help prevent suicide. [We have a program called] the applied suicide intervention skills training. For example we have over 200 people trained in recognizing the warning signs, intervening with the individual and then taking them to definitive care in order to help them work through the issues, but also remove them from the immediate risk of suicide," said Bailey
Some of the warning signs of suicide for soldiers are:
- Substance abuse
- Loss of a buddy or member of the unit
- Setbacks in military career or
- Severe, prolonged stress.
Bailey says the army trains junior leaders including sargents, and lieutenants on recognizing suicidal tendencies. Recently they have expanded the program to include family members of soldiers as a way to have support on all sides.
In addition, they have skilled professionals on post that provide in and outpatient care for soldiers. They also have a program called One Source that soldiers can call to get anonymous help.
"As an army, we are reducing the stigma to getting care, Many times people think seeking help is a sign of weakness and we want out soldiers to know and their family members to know that seeking help is actually a sign of strength," said Bailey
Geoff says since he has been at Fort Benning he has had one death by suicide. He says programs for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome are being expanded so veterans can get longer care once they return home.