Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 20 – 22, 2012 DoD/VA Suicide Prevention: Back to Basics

Conference Objectives
Objective 1: Engage in a variety of educational opportunities focused on the current state of empirically supported research, clinical practice and prevention programs on the basics of suicidology for service members, veterans and families.

Objective 2: Apply evidence-based or informed approaches in suicidology to prevention, research and clinical practice within and across DoD and VA communities.

Objective 3: Describe the current state of prevention approaches and practical applications in suicide programs within and across DoD and VA communities.

Objective 4: Identify opportunities to enhance and incorporate suicide prevention and postvention strategies for service member and veteran populations by accessing resources available from caregiver and family organizations, community and faith-based organizations, educational institutions, professional societies or other sources.

Objective 5: Identify and recommend strategies for increasing attention to and resources for suicide research, prevention and treatment for service member and veteran populations.

Senior DoD, VA Leaders Kick Off Suicide Prevention Conference
Posted on 6/22/2012 - Military suicides are a national public health concern, especially as suicide rates continue to rise. And, according to Capt. Paul Hammer, director for the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health (DCoE), “everyone owns this problem.” Hammer, who opened the conference, urged attendees to engage with leaders and speakers as part of the ongoing march to end warrior and veteran suicide. “This is our challenge to overcome,” he said.

It was a theme echoed throughout the day by service leaders, key department officials and government representatives as they discussed the work they are doing to provide service members and veterans with the support, treatment and care they need and deserve. Read more...

Suicide Prevention Conference Day 2: Building Bridges; Survivor Stories
6/22/2012 - The vital conversation on suicide prevention continued into day two of the annual suicide prevention conference jointly sponsored by the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments, as chaplains discussed spirituality and survivors shared moving stories of hope.

In the keynote address, Navy Rear Adm. Mark L. Tidd spoke of the different “bridges” that connect those who need help and the resources and people that can help them.

“I believe these bridges already exist. There are many resources that are available that enable them to cross the bridge … but they have challenges,” he said. “[We need to reinforce] bridges of trust in four areas — across communities … within the self of the service member or veteran … between peers … and with the institutions established to support them.” Read More...

DoD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference
As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, Washington, D.C., Friday, June 22, 2012
Thank you, Dr. Woodson for the kind introduction, and thank you all for your leadership, for your wise counsel, and for your commitment to ensuring that our service members and their families receive the kind of treatment and support that they so richly deserve.

I’d like to express my appreciation to all of you in this audience, appreciation for coming together, appreciation for the work that you’ve been doing at this three-day conference, appreciation for the focus that all of you are making to try to give attention and energy on one of the most complex and urgent problems facing our military families, the problem of suicide. Read More...

Military couple discusses attempted suicide

06/22/2012 - Military family shares story about dealing with suicide considerations, with the hope it will help others. They're among hundreds attending the joint DOD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference in Washington D.C.

Army Releases May 2012 Suicide Data
June 22, 2012 - The Army released suicide data today for the month of May. During May, among active-duty soldiers, there were 16 potential suicides: four have been confirmed as suicides and 12 remain under investigation. For April, the Army reported 14 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, one case has been added for a total of 15 potential suicides: four have been confirmed as suicides and 11 remain under investigation. For 2012, there have been 78 potential active-duty suicides: 42 have been confirmed as suicides and 36 remain under investigation. Updated active-duty suicide numbers for 2011: 165 (confirmed as suicides and no cases remain under investigation). Read More...

VA Boosts Staffing, Programs to Prevent Suicide
WASHINGTON, June 22, 2012 – The Department of Veterans Affairs is making progress in suicide prevention, adding staff and programs to treat the “invisible scars” carried home from the war by service members and veterans, the VA undersecretary for health said this week.

Speaking at the June 20-22 Annual DOD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference here, Dr. Robert Petzel addressed hundreds of mental health professionals, clinicians, military leaders and family members.

“America’s veterans particularly deserve the best care this nation and our departments can offer them, as do America’s service members,” Petzel said. Read More...

Remarks by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki DoD-VA Suicide Prevention Conference
Washington, DC - June 20, 2012 - Good afternoon, everyone. I am honored to be here, and I regret that my friend, Leon Panetta, had to reschedule his appearance for Friday. He and I have worked closely on issues common to both of our departments—five meetings since last July, when he assumed his duties, two last month, and we are hoping to meet again in August. Let me just say that Secretary Panetta's leadership and close partnership on behalf of those who wear and have worn the uniforms of our Nation has been monumental, and, as a result of that, we have brought our two large departments closer together than ever before.

As I often remind our folks at VA, very little of what we do in VA originates in VA. Most everything we do originates in DoD, and we must therefore be collaborative, attentive, and cooperative in supporting DoD's accomplishment of its enormous mission to keep our Nation safe, competitive, and leading. Doing so means that we, at VA, must be situationally aware, agile, and fully capable of caring for those "who have borne the battle" and their families and survivors, long after the guns have fallen silent. Today, we still care for two children of Civil War Veterans, over a hundred spouses and children from the Spanish-American War, about 5,000 from World War I, and the numbers go up from there. The promises of President Abraham Lincoln are being delivered today by President Barack Obama. The same will be true a century from now: VA will be here to deliver the promises of presidents and meet the obligations of the American people to those who have safeguarded us. We, at VA, are proud of our unique mission and of our partnership with the Department of Defense. Read More...

VA Leadership Speaks at Annual DOD, VA Suicide Prevention Conference
20 June 2012 - Earlier today, Secretary Shinseki and Undersecretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel joined VA’s health care leaders at the Annual DOD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference in Washington, D.C. The three-day long conference brings in key leaders to collaborate on some of the most pressing mental health issues affecting active duty troops and Veterans.

This year’s theme, Back to Basics, “emphasizes the value of and appreciation for good order, disciplined practices, strong clinical skills and service accountability.” Read More...

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