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TRAGEDY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR SURVIVORS Military Culture and Suicide TAPS National Headquarters1-800-959-TAPS (8277) Washington, Tragedy.

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Presentation on theme: "TRAGEDY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR SURVIVORS Military Culture and Suicide TAPS National Headquarters1-800-959-TAPS (8277) Washington, Tragedy."— Presentation transcript:

1 TRAGEDY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR SURVIVORS Military Culture and Suicide TAPS National Headquarters1-800-959-TAPS (8277) Washington, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

2 j TAPS Mission To honor our men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to America, both in and in support of the military mission, by caring for all those they loved and left behind.

3 Peer-based EMOTIONAL SUPPORT providing comfort and care for all who are grieving a death from those who truly understand. NATIONAL MILITARY SURVIVOR HELPLINE, answered live, 24/7/365 with care from peer professionals; responding immediately to needs of callers, including survivors, caregivers, volunteers, and grief professionals. COMMUNITY BASED GRIEF SUPPORT, including connection to unlimited free clinical grief counseling; trauma resources; local area support groups individually researched for each survivor. CASE WORK ASSISTANCE, including pro bono legal assistance, emergency financial resources, information on state and federal survivor benefits, connections to private support for survivors. Meeting the Mission

4 j “Although the root causes for the rise in Army suicides still remain unknown, these three studies point to risk factors, which may help identify potential protective factors, focus existing prevention programs, and foster the development of novel efforts to reduce suicide and suicidal thoughts and actions among service members at higher risk.” Source: Suicide in the Military: Army-NIH Funded Study Points to Risk and Protective Factors - March 3, 2014 Press Release Suicide in the Military

5 j U.S. Military Branches & Culture

6 j Leadership Duty Respect Selfless Service Honor Integrity Personal Courage Service Commitment Excellence U.S. Armed Forces Collective Principles & Core Values

7 j Basic Training

8 j A Day In A Life

9 j The Visible and Invisible War

10 j “I have now come to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish act. I am personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess. Be an adult, act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us.” - Major General Dana Pittard - January 2012 (MG Pittard retracted his comment and apologized) Military Culture and Suicide

11 j Mission First! Battle Rhythm (Tempo) Deployment(s) Reintegration Family Finance Support Structures Overwhelming physical and psychological events Physical and Mental Injuries Death of family members and battle-buddies Military Stressors

12 j History of unresolved trauma and loss History of untreated depression, mood disorder or TBI Shame, guilt and embarrassed to ask for help Physical/mental pain and/or trauma due to combat exposure Desensitization to physical/emotional pain Exhaustion/sleep deprivation Poor problem solving skills Alcohol and drug use Recent relationship break up or loss of support system Recent threat to career such as legal or moral accusations Financial problems Risk Factors

13 j Loss of pleasure Self destructive behavior Self harm: cutting or burning with cigarettes Angry out bursts or agitation Withdrawal Nothing left to contribute Sudden change in work performance Significant change in physical appearance Loss of appetite or increased appetite Nightmares/sleep disturbance Hopelessness, helplessness or no purpose - no value to family, unit or community Making statements about wanting to die or “end it” Expressing “Everyone would be better off without me” Warning Signs

14 j “A change in the way people view you” Fear that they will be known for their mental health issues instead of what they have achieved while serving in the military Fear that seeking behavioral health will adversely effect career or ability to get a promotion, assignment or job Stigma

15 j Respond immediately or provide safety net until comprehensive care is set up Show genuine care for their well being Let them know they are important in this world Include spouses, parents, siblings and peers in care Listen and follow up with questions Give opportunities to find a sense of purpose Maintain sense of belongingness or help create one Give hope that treatment can work Help connect them with peer support Providing Support

16 j "The day the Soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.“ Colin Powell General, U.S. Army (Ret) Leadership

17 j A sk Care Escort Army Programs to Combat Suicide

18 j Living Works Education Inc. 4303D 11 Street SE Calgary, Alberta Canada T2G 4X1 Tel: 403-209-0242 Toll Free (in NA): 1-888-733-5484 Email:

19 j Army Programs to Combat Suicide

20 j Doug Windley Manager, Military Installations 202-834-1932 Thank You

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