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G-1, Human Resources Policy Directorate

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

3 September 2008



As LTC’s  Commander, you also note changes in his demeanor and mood? What should you do? (Sit down with the LTC and have a frank, nonjudgmental conversation about your observations. Express genuine concern for him. Ask him directly if he has been depressed or if he has had thought of suicide and respond appropriately.)


Even after consulting with his boss, the LTC seems to continue to deteriorate. As his sergeant major, what would your best course of action be? (Bring your concerns to his attention, and try to get him to consult with a mental health professional. If he does not respond appropriately, you should probably bring this to the brigade sergeant major.)


In your attempt to talk to the LTC, he remarks, “Don’t give me that suicide sissy prevention crap. If I’m going to commit suicide, no one will know beforehand. The only reason you’re here is because I do your EER. Besides, my problems are none of your business.”  How do you respond now? (Obviously, you try to convince the LTC of your genuine concern. At this point, you might consider speaking with the brigade commander.)


The LTC comes in one morning and says, “Thanks a lot for tattle-telling on me! Now I’ve been ordered to report to the Community Mental Health Service for a mental status examination! Do you have any idea how humiliating that is? Do you have any idea what this is going to do to my career? Why couldn’t you just mind your own business?” How do you respond? (You might want to apologize, stating you were motivated only by your genuine concern regarding his current emotional state.  You might also point out that you respect him as a Soldier and that you enjoy working under him. You might also say, “I’d hope you’d do the same thing for me if I were having difficulties.” Essentially, you want to normalize the situation as much as possible and to make  sure the LTC knows that you are available if he ever wants to talk.)


The next morning you learn that the LTC had gone to one of the ranges and died from a self-inflicted gunshot would to his head. How do you respond? (Contact the family to see if there is anything you can do for them. Assess the emotional impact this event has had on you. Do you feel in any way responsible for what happened? You might want to seek a mental health provider to assist you in processing this event. You also want to assess the effect this event has had on your Soldier’s and NCO’s. It might be worth your while to consult with a mental health provider regarding the best way to help your Soldiers and NCO’s deal with the Commander’s death. Conduct an after action investigation with the other parties to see if there were things that could have been done differently to prevent this tragedy.)

Scenario #11 – Basic Training Brigade


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