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                 commanders should implement controls that
limit unsupervised access to weapons and prevent unauthorized removal of ammunition in addition to stopping external pilferage. These measures, coupled with sufficient identification of at-risk per- sonnel, vastly reduces a potentially suicidal person’s practical ability to access lethal means.
The mental health crisis in America and the as- sociated rise in suicides within the Armed Forces represent one of the most significant challenges the Army has faced. However, commanders are not powerless, and they have effective tools at their disposal to stem the tide. Viewing suicide preven- tion through an interpersonal lens make tools
like “This is my Squad” extremely powerful and enables engaged leaders to address potential issues before an individual enters a crisis proactively. Specifically, they support the timely identification of at-risk personnel and implement measures that create a strong sense of connectedness to life. This is a critical component to Soldier resilience and the best defense against suicidal behavior. Although this seems simple in theory, the reality is that it is
difficult in practice, and it requires the personal investment of leaders at all levels. However, it is an investment that we must make to preserve our most precious resource (Soldiers) and to sustain long- term readiness.
Works Cited
Joiner, Thomas E. Why People Die by Suicide. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005
Klonsky, David E. and May, Alexis M. “The Three Step Theory (3ST): A New Theory of Suicid Rooed in the “Ideation to Action” Framework.” International Journal of Cognitive Therpy, 8 (2), 114-129, 2015.
Reinert, Nguyen and Fritze. 2021: The State of Mental Health in America. Alexandria, VA: Mental Health America Inc, 2020.
Stone, D.M., Holland, K.M., Bartholow, B., Crosby, A.E., Davis, S., and Wilkins, N. (2017). Prevent- ing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policies, Programs, and Practices. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
LTC Soule is the Commander of 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, 193rd Infantry Brigade.
Suicide Prevention
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