The Value of Life: Perspectives from the Undersecretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness)

Dr. Clifford Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness)

I became the Under Secretary of Personnel and Readiness, and willingly took on the burden of worrying about how we care for our Servicemembers, their families, our civilians, and our veterans. As part of my commitment to our personnel, I recognize the importance of raising awareness about suicide prevention.

September is suicide awareness month and I want to make sure everyone is aware of the following:

          • No warrior or military family is ever alone
          • The military services are committed to building a strong community whose members are resilient and have a sense of belonging
          • Suicide is 100% preventable and the military services offer a number of programs and options to help
          • Seeking help to deal with stress or depression is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of great strength and courage
          • Seeking help (for depression or stress) enables full personal fitness and contributes to mission readiness
          • Strength in all areas of fitness is critical for military readiness and personal well-being
          • Developing strong mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness helps withstand, recover and grow in the face of stressors
          • The military has multiple programs readily available to enhance your ability to effectively manage stress
          • Learning to effectively deal with stress and depression enhances potential for career and personal success
          • Resources exist to get help for those who need it, now. If you, or someone you know, need help, have the courage to reach out and get help

Resources of Interest:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – dial 800-273-TALK (8255),  service members and veterans choose “1”
  • DCoE Outreach Center – dial 866-966-1020 for information and assistance with concerns related to psychological health or traumatic brain injury
  • Military OneSource – dial 800-342-9647 for confidential assistance with a wide range of issues related to military deployments and service
  • Real Warriors program promotes the processes of building resilience, facilitating recovery and supporting reintegration of returning service members, veterans and their families
  • Afterdeployment.org offers a variety of wellness resources for service members, veterans and families to include online assessments and workshops for topics such as depression, physical injury, post-traumatic stress, anxiety and anger
  • TRICARE offers a Mental Health Resource Center for service members and their families: http://www.tricare.mil/mentalhealth/ and http://www.tricare.mil/mentalhealth/Resources.aspx
  • Military One Source offers “Minding Your Mental Health”: http://www.militaryonesource.com/MOS/FindInformation/Category/Topic/Issue/Material.aspx?MaterialTypeID=10&MaterialID=15564
  • Military Pathways is a psychological health screening and referral program for military families and service members affected by deployment and mobilization. This voluntary and anonymous program is offered online, by phone, and through special events held at installations and reserve units.

Suicide prevention within the services:

Air Force: http://www.af.mil/suicideprevention.asp

Army: http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/default.asp

Coast Guard: http://www.uscg.mil/worklife/suicide_prevention.asp

Marine Corps: http://www.usmc-mccs.org/suicideprevent/index.cfm

Navy: http://www.public.navy.mil/bupersnpc/support/suicide_prevention/Pages/default.aspx

National Guard: http://www.ng.mil/features/resiliency/default.aspx

Veterans Affairs suicide prevention Web page: http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/

VA ACE Card and brochure: www.mentalhealth.va.gov/docs/VA_Brochure_08_25_2009.pdf

Dr. Clifford Stanley, Undersecretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness)

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