Experts gather at Fort Hood to discuss prevention amid rise in suicides in U.S. Army

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 5:48 PM CST
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Fort Hood, Texas (KWTX) - Army leaders gathered at Fort Hood on Thursday to discuss how to combat a rise in suicides across the Army.

A recent Department of Defense report reveals the Army experienced a 15 percent increase in deaths by suicide over the thirty-six months.

“Ending your life does not end your pain. It transfers it to those who love you the most, and they will live with that for the rest of their lives,” said Miranda Briggs, who last her Husband to suicide four years ago.

“Ask someone. Have you had thoughts about ending your life? That can be a very direct, startling question, but that could save someone’s life because that may be the door that they open up and start talking to you,” Briggs said.

Thursday, experts in suicidology from across the nation gathered at Fort Hood to speak with leaders about combating suicide through a critical examination.

The seminar included leaders from across the III Armored Corps, including those from Fort Bliss, Texas and Fort Carson, Colorado.

“The Soldier is the most important weapon system, and that system needs to be maintained at 100 percent and our physical and mental, psychological, and spiritual well-being is the foundation of that 100 percent,” said Lt. Gen. Pat White, commander, III Armored Corps, and Fort Hood.

“Today, we have put together a panel of experts who are going to help us take a look at ourselves and our society from a different perspective than what we have been doing.”

Featured speakers included Dr. Thomas Joiner, academic psychologist; Dr. Craig Bryan, researcher; Dr. Mike Anestis, clinical psychologist; Dr. Emmy Betz, researcher, and professor; Col. Sam Preston, chief Army Behavioral Health Division, Defense Health Agency, family physician, and psychologist; and Dr. Eren Watkins, epidemiologist, and public health practitioner.

Staff with the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Endeavors said their mission is to provide more options for those struggling with mental health to get on the right path.

“We don’t want to take away your weapons or take away your freedoms, we just want to help you with a safety plan to get you going on the right track,” Kametra Marzette, the outreach director for the Cohen Clinic.

This renewed push comes from the White House as President Biden laid out a new strategy aimed at working to prevent active-duty military and veteran suicides.

If you or someone you know is going through a mental health crisis, call 1-800-273-8255. If you’re a veteran, you can press one and be connected to specialized options.

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