Seven Steps Fort Bliss Took to Reduce Soldier Suicides

Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, commander of Fort Bliss. Photo credit: army.mil

Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, commander of Fort Bliss. Photo credit: army.mil

There is no single solution to reverse the rise in soldier suicides.

In fact when Army Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard took over as commander at Fort Bliss, he came armed with a comprehensive approach reports Donna Miles for American Forces Press Service on military.mil.

Confronted by a spate of suicides among redeploying air defenders when he arrived at Fort Bliss in July 2010, Pittard launched the “No Preventable Soldier Deaths” campaign. The goal, he explained, was to prevent not only suicides, but also high-risk behaviors that can lead to drug overdoses, motorcycle and vehicle accidents, and other preventable fatalities.

That comprehensive campaign includes more than 30 different initiatives but all are focused on reducing risky behavior and creating a culture where seeking help is encouraged. Some of the steps taken:

  1. Pittard began assigning accountability for preventable deaths, holding leaders accountable for their soldiers, and soldiers accountable for themselves and their battle buddies.
  2. All new arrivals to Fort Bliss get comprehensive screenings at the Wellness Fusion Center.
  3. Pittard made the Army’s Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training mandatory for all incoming soldiers. Continue reading
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