G-1, Human Resources Policy Directorate
Supporting Soldiers, Families & Civilians – Active, Guard, Reserve and Retired
3 September 2008
As a Commander establishing a suicide prevention program, to what degree do you consider generational differences, such as “baby-boomers” versus “generation X”? (While it is true that certain age groups, most notable 25 and under and 65 and above have higher rates of suicide, the National Academy of Sciences, in response to a request for information from Army senior leadership, has noted that there is no scientific evidence for significant generational differences in behaviors and attitudes. Thus, the much heralded generational differences should not be a consideration when designing a suicide prevention program.)
The Army seems to have provided significant resources to assist the spouse and children of deployed service members. However, there do not appear to be similar agencies/policies to support the significant others of unmarried Soldiers. Is this fair? What more can we, as an organization, do to help support these people? (for discussion).
The Army and her sister services recruit mostly from a pool of young, unskilled individuals. Such individuals, in general, also tend to be socially unskilled. Moreover, we are now recruiting more individuals with criminal backgrounds, pre-existing psychological problems, and lower intellectual skills. Are there ways we can accelerate the social maturity of such individuals, or do we have to wait for development to take it’s time? Does the Army currently have any mechanism for increasing the social skills and maturity of new Soldiers? If so, what are these mechanisms? What additional measures can the Army take to increase the resilience and social maturity of these individuals? (for discussion).
How does a Commander promote help-seeking behaviors within his/her organization? (First and foremost, the Commander must him/her-self believe that help-seeking behaviors are healthy. This belief must then be accepted at all echelons. He/she must take all measures to reduce any stigma attached to help-seeking behavior. Taunting or teasing someone who has sought assistance must be eliminated.)
How does a Commander monitor his/her unit for possible suicidal intent? (First, know your Soldiers and their families so you can recognize or even anticipate behavioral problems. Promote the buddy system. Train your NCO’s to know and monitor their Soldiers. Create an atmosphere of inclusion and acceptance for all unit members Know the warning signs for suicide: loneliness, worthlessness, hopelessness, etc. Talk with your Soldiers following any major change in their life circumstances. )
Scenario #9 - R&R
STRATEGIC QUESTIONS and ANSWERS: