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G-1, Human Resources Policy Directorate

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

3 September 2008



How do you, as the brigade Commander, promote compassionate suicide prevention attitudes while at the same time fostering discipline and trying to reduce trainee attrition? Are these mutually exclusive goals? Does one goal interfere with the attainment of other goals? Explain. (for discussion)


As the brigade Commander, how do you respond when representatives from the Army medical center approach you requesting two hours to test all trainees as part of a research project designed to reduce suicide rates? (One would hope that you would be as cooperative as is reasonably possible. It is understood that we, as an organization, make numerous demands on training time and that yet another such demand would create scheduling and logistic problems. Yet, the psychological health and cognitive abilities are extremely important, especially on the postmodern battlefield. Advances in Soldier psychological abilities will not occur without additional research. As a Commander, you must balance current time demands for training against future organizational improvement.)


With the Army accepting increasing numbers of trainees with criminal histories, lower aptitude scores, and more moral waivers, how do you modify your suicide prevention program, if indeed it is necessary to modify it at all, to keep suicides to a minimum among your trainees?  (for discussion)


You have noticed that a fairly sizable percentage of trainees report to the Community Mental Health Service seeking discharge because they are “suicidal”. This percentage has increased since one trainee was indeed discharged for a personality disorder after complaining of suicidal thoughts. You assume, probably rightly so, that the increase is due to a “copy-cat” effect, and the local MEDDAC Commander is complaining that his mental health resources are being stretched to the point of breaking. How do you respond to this situation without increasing the stigma attached to the seeking of mental health services, without discouraging individuals with bona fide problems from seeking services, without increasing the burden upon the Community Mental Health Service, and without compromising your training standards? (for discussion; however it should be noted that first line personnel and Commanders are not qualified, by virtue of training or experience, to determine whether or not any individual trainee is truly suicidal or just malingering.)


How do you train your staff to be compassionate and to respond to requests for mental health consultation without ridicule or retribution while still maintaining discipline and training standards? Is this even a problem?  (for discussion)

Scenario #11 – Basic Training Brigade


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