The number of military men and women who take their lives each year has been an alarming number for years. Military bases across the country and across the world have been focusing on this issue, but many people involved in lectures or prevention talks haven’t been positive affected by the out-of-date techniques.
Recently, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington has revamped their program to make it more effective for those taking part. Vicki Duffy, JBLM’s suicide prevention officer knows that the presentations that have been used in the past weren’t as helpful as she would have liked, “they’re valuable but they’re done in a way that is very old fashioned in the Army,” Duffy told a writer at The News Tribune.
The new program comes as a result to the worst year for suicides at JBLM since the start of the war eleven years ago. In 2011, thirteen suicides were reported, which is up from nine in the previous two years.
The Soldiers 360 program is now an interactive program that incldues opportunities for one-on-one conversations, as well as having group discussions about suicide and depression. The retreat included an opportunity for yoga classes and a wine-tasting to teach responsible drinking habits.
This retreat is only an example of one military base’s revamped programs. It is a positive response that the military is working to change their programs in order to make them more effective for the soldiers risking their lives for their country. Hopefully more bases will continue to work on their retreats and programs to help teach suicide prevention.