No Suicides at JBLM in 2012 After Officers Relieved; Has Army Finally Found Solution in Leadership Accountability?

Army Suicide Prevention Effort Paying Off at JBLM

Colonel lost Madigan command, subordinates fired, in rare example of leadership accountability after PTSD case mismanagement and alleged malpractice

by Drew Mikkelsen
KING 5 News, June 14, 2012

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash.– After a record-setting 12 JBLM soldiers killed themselves in 2011, the Army knew something had to be done.

“It caused us to go back and look at the mirror and look over every policy,” said Col. Steven Bullimore, I Corps Chief of Staff.

Army Col. Dallas Homas, center, met with Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, left, in 2011 after allegations by Oregon National Guard soldiers of maltreatment at Madigan Army Hospital at JBLM. Homas commanded Madigan until he was relieved of his duties following an investigation that found hundreds of soldiers had medical diagnoses reversed apparently to save the Army’s limited budget. (OregonLive)

Bullimore said changes were made and that they seem to be working. No JBLM soldiers have committed suicide in 2012.

“We’re very psyched about having an effect, but we’re cautiously optimistic because we realize how fragile this is,” said Bullimore.

Bullimore said soldiers are screened about two times as much as they used to be, and a review board now examines ways to prevent suicides.

“I would like to think that lives have been saved,” said JBLM Suicide Prevention Manager Vicki Duffy, “I can tell you… we have set soldiers up for success who were in distress.”

Greg Miller is not as optimistic.

“Unless something substantial changed in the last three months,” said Miller. “There was no road map to these services. There was not a resource where I could go and say ‘Hey, I need help!’”

Miller was honorably discharged from the Army in March. He served a year in Iraq in 2009.

Miller had thoughts of suicide when he returned to JBLM and was not able to get help. He said he got better help after leaving the Army than he ever did when he was enlisted.

For the military to solve the suicide rate problem, Miller said suicide prevention needs to be discussed more openly.

Bullimore said he’s noticed a change in culture after the 2011 suicides reached record levels.

He said more soldiers are willing to come forward with their problems.

“There’s a trust now I don’t think we had before,” said Bullimore.

Read story at its source:

Read initial story about PTSD misdiagnoses scandal at JBLM:


5 Responses

  1. Col Homas was a client & friend of mine. It’s hard to believe he had any involvement with the problem at Madigan. If the truth ever came out you can bet the order came from higher up to change the way PTSD was diagnosed, treated & awarded. I made sure he knew that my son who had a severe case of PTSD took his own life on Fathers Day 2012. What really surprised me is that, my sons therapist showed up at the gravesite & said “I really loved Woody”. Really lady so did I. I had to turn & leave before I said or did something I would regret. The nerve of her to show up & to let me know she was there.

  2. This story shows the fine line of word twisting. In this calendar year there have been 7 sucidices at JBLM, to include one spouse. To infer they cannot be counted against JBLM because some of the deceased belonged to specialized units whose higher commands are elsewhere does not mean they did not happen at JBLM proper.

  3. The army is not doing enough for these men & women, my son shot himself in the head on Fathers Day, He was discharged with PTSD & abandoned, now I will bury him on Friday at the age of 38!

    • they sure aren’t! I’m sorry for your loss. I’m an Oregon National Guard member that has been fighting not to attempt suicide again. But they could care less here at jblm and madigan.

      • I am so glad you found this website (Anonymous submitted on 2012/06/22 at 4:02 am). Thanks for sharing your comments and concern, not just about your own situation, but for others who have also experienced the pain and loss due to military suicide.

        Listen, if you are finding your military doctors “could care less,” what I will tell you is that you can find help outside the military in situations where you face problems such as poor care providers or a command atmosphere that is hostile to mental heath situations.

        If you look at the upper right corner of this website’s main page, there are resources, such as Soldiers Project and Give an Hour … both I have have personal knowledge of and experience with their services. I can highly recommend them to anyone with a need.

        And for anyone who gets into that danger zone where you are thinking about hurting yourself, please call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). There is also a link on the front page that can connect you with someone you can chat with live online if you just feel like talking about things. So many people are waiting to help in situations just like yours; please reach out to another community if the one at JBLM is not working for you.

        All of these resources are confidential and at no cost.

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