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G-1, Human Resources Policy Directorate

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

3 September 2008

57

1.

How do you respond when the Soldier states, “I can’t live this way”? (Help him clarify his thoughts by asking questions, such as “What do you mean by that?”, “Are you considering hurting yourself?”, “Have you spoken to anyone about these feelings?”)

2.

If the Soldier responds that he has thought about committing suicide, how would you determine the degree of risk involved? (Determine if the Soldier is at imminent risk by asking him if he has plans to harm himself and if he really intends to carry out these plans. Ask about commonly known risk factors such as previous suicide attempts, depression, social withdrawal, etc.)

3.

After talking to this Soldier, you feel he is not at an imminent risk to harm himself. What should you do next? (Understand that you are not qualified, by virtue of training or experience, to make a judgment regarding the degree of risk. Convey your sincere concern and care for him. Try to get the Soldier to speak with a Chaplain or mental health provider about his feelings. If the Soldier refuses or gives you a lukewarm response, you should report the Soldier’s suicidal thoughts to his treatment team, his commander, a mental health provider, or a Chaplain. Remember, since you do not have a therapeutic relationship with this Soldier, you are not bound by rules related to confidentiality. In fact, the Soldier may be secretly hoping that you will report his suicidality, feeling unable to do so himself).

4.

Learning that you have “told on him”, the Soldier becomes very angry with you, demanding that you leave him alone and calling you names. How should you respond? (Do not become angry in response.  Understand that the Soldier is appropriately angry regarding his circumstances and that he is inappropriately directing that anger towards you. Reassure the Soldier that you care for him and that you are available if he needs you. You might consider revisiting him once he has had time to cool off.)

5.

The Soldier reveals, during the course of your conversation, that he has been stockpiling his medications “…just in case”. What should your response be? (Express care for the Soldier by telling him you are either going to remove the stockpile of pills, or you are going to have the hospital staff remove them.)

Scenario #8 - Post-Deployment

OPERATIONAL QUESTIONS and ANSWERS:

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