Just a few days ago, the Army released suicide statistics for 2012, and the numbers across the ranks were staggering; but at Fort Bliss the annual report showed a marked decline.
Yesterday’s KENS 5News in San Antonio reported that Maj. General Dana Pittard attributes the turnaround to a change in culture on base; de-stigmatizing soldiers asking for help.
Pittard is the commanding general of the 1st Armored Division.
At Fort Bliss, with the Warrior Transition Center for returning soldiers and the Wellness Fusion Campus for new soldiers, there were only five suicides in 2012, down two from the previous year.
Beginning last year, ASIST or Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, became mandatory on post. The goal is to identify at-risk soldiers before they seek a permanent solution to what is often a temporary problem.
This turnaround is notable given the fact that last March Maj. General Pittard wrote the following on his blog site last March:
Suicide is an absolutely selfish act. I am personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess.
It was a statement that was later deleted from his site. The fact remains, whatever he is doing at Fort Bliss, its working.
Even with the aggressive prevention campaign, at the rapidly expanding base, there are still two to four suicide attempts per day.
The National Military Examiner publishes military and military-related content from around the world that often misses mainstream media, including all troop losses.
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