VA, DoD Schedule Another Suicide Prevention Conference as Self-Inflicted Deaths Set New Record in 2012

DoD Conference to Address Military Suicides

by Patricia Kime
Military Times, June 15, 2012

A conference scheduled for next week in Washington on suicide among U.S. military personnel and veterans has taken on new importance in light of reports showing active duty suicides to date are outpacing last year’s numbers.

The annual meeting, scheduled for June 20-23, will bring top officials, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, VA Undersecretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel and others together to discuss the topic.

“The goal of the conference is to provide basic information, research findings and share best practices in the realm of suicide prevention, different interventions, post-ventions and surveillance activities,” said Jackie Garrick, head of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office.

Link to the Defense Centers of Excellence website

The Associated Press reported 154 suicides among active duty personnel as of June 3, nearly one a day for the year and 24 more than occurred between Jan. 1 to June 3, 2011.

According to AP and service figures, the Marine Corps and Army have seen a slight uptick, with the Marine Corps having 18, the Army, 80. The Air Force has seen a sharp increase, up 32 from 23 at the same time last year. The Navy has seen a slight dip after experiencing a rising trend in the past few years.

The conference is the fourth on suicide prevention hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence.

The theme “Back to Basics,” will “emphasize the value of and appreciation for good order, disciplined practices, strong clinical skills and service accountability,” according to the center’s website.

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