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G-1, Human Resources Policy Directorate

Supporting Soldiers, Families & Civilians – Active, Guard, Reserve and Retired

3 September 2008

36

1.

When the private states she has a plan to make sure her husband is taken care of when I’m gone, what should your response be? (You should ask her directly what she means by that statement. Is she merely stating a fact, or is communicating suicidal thoughts? She might be giving a clue, wanting someone to rescue her. You might begin by asking her what her plan is. If you have any questions, contact your chain-of-command.)

2.

Why do you think it is important to ask a potentially suicidal individual about their substance use/abuse? (Drinking or taking drugs may increase the person’s impulsivity. Thus, they might commit suicide impulsively while intoxicated whereas they might not had they been sober. Also, an intoxicated Soldier would not be an appropriate referral to the Community Mental health Service. Rather, they should be escorted to the emergency room.)

3.

What facts about this case suggest that the private is indeed suicidal? (The fact that the private has recently been involved in disciplinary actions. She has financial problems for which she sees no solution. She has been told she may lose her house to foreclosure. She is also experiencing the stress associated with deploying for the first time. At home she experiences marital discord. She has increased her alcohol intake. She is in the process of preparing for her absence by increasing the death benefits on her insurance, and she states she wants to volunteer for hazardous assignments so she will be killed.)

4.

Are there any factors in this scenario which may serve to reduce suicide potential? (Yes, the Soldier is young and a female. Females make more suicidal “gestures” but these “gestures” are usually not as lethal as those made by males. There does not appear to be a history of suicide attempts. Furthermore, her wish to be killed on a hazardous mission seems to suggest that she is not imminently suicidal.)

5.

The Soldier finally admits that she is experiencing significant marital distress. What importance do you attach to this fact? (Relationship problems are involved in a large percentage of suicides. It is therefore important to question potentially suicidal individuals regarding their marriages/relationships.)

Scenario #5 – Pre-deployment

OPERATIONAL QUESTIONS and ANSWERS:

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