Continuing commitment to suicide prevention

Written by LTG Eric B. Schoomaker, U.S. Army Surgeon General,
I am very concerned with the recent number of suicides. These are trying times and suicide should never be an option. Every effort must be made to understand and inform Soldiers and their Families of the risk factors involved; to train Soldiers, Families and Army Civilians to actively intervene when necessary; and to make them all aware of professional help at every level.

The Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Peter Chiarelli, recently said “Any Soldier, from Private to General, may need help at some time in their Army career. Seeking that help, without fear of stigma, has to become second nature in our Army community, it has to become part of our culture. We’re not there yet, but we’re going to get there.”

Our goal is to provide men and women wearing the Army uniform and their Families the best available support to help them overcome the stresses that society in general, as well as military service entails. Soldiers and Family Members in need have ready access to existing and new services; all they need to do is ask their chain of command, chaplain, leader, buddy, or person trained in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Ask, Care, Escort (ACE).

We are actively working to reduce the stigma associated with seeking behavioral health care. Knowing the A.C.E. technique when someone is threatening suicide is critical.

Here’s what ACE means:
A- Ask about their situation or problem.
C- Care enough to take action (take away the weapon for example).
E- Escort the person to a health-care provider or chaplain – don’t just make a suggestion and leave, take action.

We must stand together, shoulder to shoulder, and make strong mental health as much as a priority as strong physical health.

I encourage you to visit the Web site below for more information on suicide prevention:

Army Medicine…Army Strong