Leaders at NC Army Base With Most Suicides in 2012 Host PR Event to Peddle Hollow Claims of Prevention Success

Army Master Sgt. Eric Brooks said his military career at Fort Bragg actually flourished and that he did not lose his top-secret security clearance after he sought out help through his command for the mental health problems and suicidal thoughts in 2004 after serving two combat tours in Iraq. Brooks is trained in Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs. (Fayetteville Observer)

Fort Bragg Leaders Say Efforts Helping to Stop Suicides

by John Ramsey
Fayettville Observer, Sept. 20, 2012

“If I have one suicide, we failed. What we’ve got to do is look at the positive outcomes that are happening,” said Col. Chad McRee, leader of Fort Bragg’s suicide prevention task force.

Nine Fort Bragg soldiers have killed themselves this year. Another five deaths are suspected suicides. And in the first half of this year, 40 others attempted suicide. Across the Army, 139 troop deaths this year are likely suicides.

Despite numbers showing suicide as a growing problem, Fort Bragg leaders on Thursday said they see positive signs that their prevention efforts are working.

Col. Chad McRee, leader of Fort Bragg’s suicide prevention task force, said he has heard dozens of stories of interventions that helped at-risk soldiers.

But the task force doesn’t keep a tally of its success stories, McRee said, because collecting that data from all over the installation would be a nearly impossible task.

McRee, one of six Fort Bragg representatives who spoke to reporters Thursday, said suicide is a complex issue that has not been solved. The best predictor, they said, is relationship problems.

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10 Responses

  1. Gentlemen:

    You clearly have uncommon courage and a deep wish to help those brothers in arms who are in danger of taking their own lives.

    I applaud supporting the powers that be in their efforts to prevent suicide. I applaud giving them great grief for not doing nearly enough. You have confrontation down pat, which affords the ability to deal with crises and to express warranted outrage. For this, I admire you.

    Confrontation directed at each other produces isolation, which is nothing any of us can afford in this issue. Perhaps seeking common ground on which to come together would be more of a model for those tempted to leave us.

    With great honor and respect to you and gratitude for your speaking out, CL

  2. Shame on you! Your title is inconsiderate and unfeeling!!!!!!! At least they are trying and did you stop to think the man that came forward, how he feels?

    • Yes ma’am, I did … deeply.

      And I also thought about all the families … the thousands of families every year who have had to bury their own sons and daughters because they killed themselves after raising their hand to say, “I need help”

      … only then to be labeled, shunned, teased, hazed, drugged, tarred and feathered before being pushed all the way to the edge by a hardened military culture that is traditionally very cruel to those who are unfortunate enough to experience a psychiatric injury.

      My greatest hope is that there will soon be no need for such a blog as the one you have found and commented.

      I hope you will come back again and again to join in solidarity with all those who deeply care and honestly want to do whatever it takes to end these needless, senseless, self-inflicted killings.

      This blog’s purpose is not to exasperate or cause suffering in others … but due to the nature of suicide, war, etc, sometimes that happens.

      I am truly, truly sorry for that.

      I wish there was a better way.

      Your input and suggestions are always welcome in this community.

    • Anonymous,
      thank you for your support. The hurtful part is is the above headline hung over a picture of me.
      I am greatly offended, and admittedly mad. As for my assumptions , as stated below, at least I openly announced that they were assumptions. I am witnessing many incorrect assumptions made in reference to me. That hurts too.
      My only intent, in coming out to highlight my recovery, is to provide a since of hope for others like me.
      I do not feel that “blackie” is doing us any favors. If reading his passage were all I had, I never would have asked for help.
      I actually thought CPT Blackadder was reaching out for help. Again, joke is on me.

      • MSG Brooks,

        You are invited to share in this community by writing, in your own words, anything you feel important to say about your experiences at your unit and your base. If you have words and thoughts to share that you believe may save life, or somehow grow the understanding of this terrible disease and dark chapter in military history, the door is always open. You may even suggest your own headline. If it’s accurate, it will be posted “as is”. Please submit via “Your Opinion” tab at the top of the page. And if you require more than the suggested 350-word limit to fully express your input, you will have the space you need.

  3. CPT Blackadder,
    Based on your screen name, I’m assuming you are currently serving. Based on your comments, I get the impression that you are jaded, disgruntled, as though the Army is somehow dealing a poor hand. It’s like you think the Army is maliciously, and intentionally avoiding It’s responsibilities.
    Hopefully you’ve made the connection. I’m the MSG mentioned above. I take offence to your comments. I feel you are missing the mark, that you just don’t get it.
    If you are in fact a serving CPT, I strongly recommend you become familiar with. UCMJ articles 88, 89, 91, 133 and 134.
    If you think you need help, if you don’t know how to ask, for yourself or on behalf of others, please talk to me. I will be monitoring this forum.
    I don’t blame you for being upset after reading this article. This reporter has done more damage than good. He didn’t tell it for what it was. I know, I was there, It’s my story.
    Seriously, if you need to talk, contact me.

    • OK, I GET IT. Joke is on me. Rowan Atkonson’s Captain Blackadder. Nice, there is a place for people like you.

      • Actually, you’ve made quite a few assumptions in your response to my post MSG. My screen name was actually my call sign during each of my deployments since 9/11, and doesn’t reflect my subsequent promotion. I do confess that I did however, enlist in 1983, and upon the completion of my first enlistment went on to OCS. Your assertion that I am somehow a disgruntled and jaded officer further indicates your lack of insights in how well you are able to look outside the box which limits your own field of vision. Point in fact-there is more than enough evidence that you are one of the rare cases in that you were not made to suffer by coming forward to your command for your psychological injuries. By the “tone” of your response to the facts which I have used that overwhelmingly support my assertion that Fort Bragg has nothing to brag about regarding its suicide prevention efforts-I can only suggest that you might want to get in touch with the emotions which still apparently hold you hostage.

        I am, MSG, a combat veteran, who has seen up close and personal the ravages of war. I am also a realist about the complexities surrounding these two wars, as well as the complex nature of psychological and spiritual injuries which have devistated troops and their families in ways and numbers which our nation has never known. Furthermore, I am also a soldier who has watched years of white wash applied to the obvious issues by each of the services, but especially the army. And I have seen those same white washed tales contribute to and greatly exascerbate mental health status of not only those who have served in uniform but their families as well.

        Never forget MSG, that your mental health experiences, as well as the way you believe you overcame them are yours-and yours alone. Any assertion that another soldier similarly affected should be able to overcome the challenges that you feel you have over come-is at best arrogant, and does a gross injustice to others.

      • Just a bit slow on the up-take there “CPT Darling”… Keep your chin up there, and sans that check with Baldrick, as he’s usually got a cunning plan to see us through.


  4. “Cleopatra was the queen of Denial”
    With a probable 14 suicides at Fort Bragg, of all places, so far during 2012 (which only covers through July), holding a PR event to tout their so called success with reducing suicides is a gob-smacker. It’s really a great script for a Monty Python parody on the idiocy of military leadership. The whole PR campaign strategy of “if we deny the problem long enough we’ll soon have people believing that what they are witnessing is in fact false, and that which is false will be seen as true” seems to have come straight from the same play book used by the White House.

    And on another note: around the middle of each month the Army releases its suicide report on the Defense.gov website for the prior month. I’ve noticed over the years that when the suicide report is not as good as we’d hoped for, that the release date is later-often times after the 19th or so. It is now the 21st, and also a Fri. It is also interesting to note that the report still has not been released. Please also know that little to no reporting occurs during the weekend…. Lastly, if you look closely at each month’s report, (which is something that could easily be standardized-as well as the current arbitrary release date) you will see that the reports are not simple numbers, but that there is almost always a “spin” applied to the numbers which if you are not careful can distract you from the pure numbers.

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