Army Struggles To Respond To Epidemic Of Suicides During Suicide Prevention Briefs

Military Suicide Prevention

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A spokesman for the U.S. Army announced today that top leadership was struggling to respond to what he called a “suicide epidemic” taking place during suicide prevention training.

Spokesman George Wright revealed that 62 soldiers had taken their own lives during the mandatory training curriculum in the past month alone.

“We knew we had a problem on our hands with the rise in suicides. It’s a real crisis and the media kept hammering us on it,” said Wright. “So we felt that giving a PowerPoint briefing would solve the problem.”

The mandatory suicide prevention program instituted Army-wide includes suicide prevention video vignettes paired with a 2700-slide PowerPoint presentation. The class is usually taught by a therapist, the unit Chaplain, or some poor bastard NCO that was forced into being a certified suicide prevention instructor.

The briefs, given at the Battalion level, also require each Commander to give a personalized talk on the issue.

“With at least a tear in the eye and calculated amount of emotion in their voice to satisfy Officer Evaluation Report (OER) requirements,” Wright added.

Despite the new training, Commanders have reported troubling incidents during the briefs.

“During one of the breaks during hour seven or eight, one soldier actually removed his reflective belt and hung himself with it from a door,” said Captain Steven Riggs. “How the hell am I supposed to tell my soldiers that reflective belts save lives from now on?”

A separate class at Fort Dix resulted in six soldiers in the audience taking their lives, along with the instructor of the brief — who jumped off the stage head first at slide 2403 of the PowerPoint.

“That one was particularly tragic,” said Captain Justin Bergant. “Not only did I have six soldiers who hadn’t signed the attendance roster, but the instructor wasn’t able to sign off on the rest of the sheets, making them all useless. Not one single certificate of completion could be issued and now the Colonel says my OER will reflect the failure to hit our 100 percent goal.”

As a temporary measure, the Army no longer allows soldiers to wear dog tags, boot laces, or reflective belts during the briefings — quite often confusing troops who are used to relying on the PT belts for keeping them alive in combat and in garrison.

Despite the tragedy, Wright says they already have plans in place to fix the problems.

“Well, obviously we’re not doing enough, so we know that we need to add an additional 400-500 slides to really hammer home the message,” said Wright.

Wright also says they have received good feedback on the latest guidance memo to Army leaders.

“We’re now requiring all Training NCO’s to maintain a unit roster which all soldiers need to sign before the briefs, saying that they promise not to kill or hurt themselves.”

The Army Chief of Staff also weighed in on the issue, saying that he had his “Plan E ready to go” in case the already used plans A, B, C, and D fail.

The other plans, according to Odierno, include ignoring the problem and hoping it will just go away (Plans A and B), telling soldiers to take motrin, drink water, and “suck it the fuck up” (Plan C), and finally, giving them an anti-suicide nasal spray (Plan D).

“We certainly feel that soldiers should be able to police themselves and take care of each other on this issue, but if all else fails, we’ll have to trust in the UCMJ,” said General Ray Odierno. “Any soldier that commits suicide will be punished accordingly. That will include court-martial and possible bad conduct discharge.”

Odierno added, “This is a failure in PowerPoint, not leadership.”


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44 Comments

  1. I committed suicide once at a sexual harassment briefing, you know the one with the hot chick with the nice ass that wanted to “Tap that Ass” of the Queer telling the jokes. Yeah I hadn’t thought to use my PT belt cause it was the middle of the freakin beautiful day. I just slit my wrist with the Alert roster that was going around that needed to be updated while i waited for the sign in sheet. I was gonna use my Buddy Card, but I didn’t wanna screw the guy for not having known i was depressed. Problem is some A-Hole LT fresh out of “I’m a cool guy school” wanted to be a hero and bring me back. Now we have to sit through another SP brief and apparently LT Butter bar didn’t realize that mouth to mouth didn’t involve his tongue …….another Sexual Harassment class. That’s not my fault though, some guy walking by the DFAC saw it he got offended and reported the incident.

  2. Just went to my units 2hr suicide briefing…unfortunately they took our belts, laces and sharp objects…luckily we’re a bunch of booze hounds so there was plenty to go around…lifesaver!

  3. Literally just finished SHARP training, it wouldn’t print my cert and I got the email about the day’s worth of Suicide Prevention briefings next week… and I’m a CIVILIAN NOW!!!

  4. God this is funny! I just sat through four hours of this crap last month and “2700 slides” sounds about right.

    • I used to get some of my best lines from the sexual harassment/assault videos. My old shop gave me a copy of one when I PCS’d. Does anyone have a VHS player?

  5. Powerpoint is effective – suicide prevention is almost as effective as the sexual assault powerpoints we are all made to sit through (and make fun of)!

  6. The part about the guy hanging himself with a PT Belt was comedy genius. “How the hell am I supposed to tell my soldiers that reflective belts save lives from now on?” PURE gold!!!

    The sad part is that as part of my packing list for Hurricane Isaac the PT belt is mentioned not once, but THREE TIMES. Body armor only gets once in the list…

  7. This story hits home because as a civilian employee for an Army Depot we actually had one instructor tell the class during a suicide prevention training the proper method of slitting one’s wrist to bleed out effectively.

    I’ve learned so much.

  8. You do know that the ACE card we all get at each brief (I personally have 17 of them) is sharp enough to slit a wrist.

  9. Laughing lets you know your alive. The dead can’t laugh. Laugh for them. It’s the only cure.

  10. You are one sick puppy. I don’t care what you call this. Suicide is not a laughing matter. You can make jokes all you want but when I saw this write-up it made want to vomit. It’s too bad that there are more like you out there that do not have a clue.

    • Its making fun of the Military’s ridiculous solution to a terrible problem, not the problem itself. I’m not surprised that a warrant officer couldn’t figure that out; never met one that was worth a damn.

    • Carrie’s a Safety Officer!! Carrie’s a Safety Officer and she’s butthurt because the article makes fun of bullshit training and she wants to redirect and sully TDB’s good and Paul’s not terrible names.

      Most unprofessional. Shame on you, Chief Warrant Officer Carrie, shame. on. you.

      *sigh* I feel better. Thanks.

  11. Oh my aching sides.

    “How many slides? 2700. My dog has fleas, my wife has crabs, my newborn looks like my neighbor, and you want me to watch 2700 slides. It’s over dude, game over.”

    LOL

    • I didn’t get a response when I sent my final straw email to Rick after reading his comment drove me over the edge.

  12. Anyone in the Ft Dix/Maguire Trenton NJ area who needs assistance can contact me at the e-mail address.
    Catholic Charities of Trenton is offering Counseling or other help free to military Personnel returning from overseas combat duty. This will be completely confidential.

  13. That story was awesome and hits so close to home…. What’s worse with the training is that it’s the same one, over and over and over… No wonder Soldiers want to end their lives after having endured that! 😛

  14. “This is a failure in PowerPoint, not leadership.”

    As one of the legion of staff officers who put this vital briefing together, I respectfully disagree. As a minimum it had enabled over 100 hard-charging REMFs to pad their OER Support Forms, avoid deployment, and ease the path to well-deserved retirement.

    • Outstanding, sir! Job well done. Great way to aid the Force Shaping initiative as well. Very thoughful of you!

      • You know it is kinda fucked up that some officer’s OER is going to suffer because of some suicides during a suicide briefing. You know they could have at least had the decency to do it after the class so he could have said…they were trained, the NCOs failed them.

  15. I now read this blog just to see the comments from people who don’t understand the concept of satire. An IQ test should be given before allowing a person to read a story.

      • Ha ha 2700 slides…add 400 more…hanging by pt belt, and pissed abou tthe sign in roster, I couldnt stop laughing. Only to get to the bottom to see Darrell get an LT hook line and sinker

  16. Who hasn’t wanted to end things when faced with a “death by PowerPoint” briefing–just to make the pain end.
    And Darrell, calm the f*ck down. This is satire, not news. Jeez, I hope you’re not an AD soldier or a veteran; I really do.

    • Wooahh… Do not spread consipracy theory bullshit. You start saying PT belts are dangerous and pretty soon black helicopters are gonna come down on you. Do you know who is behind the PT belt proliferation? If you do, you keep that shit to yourself. PT belts are saving lives. Zieg Heil-iburton!

  17. SIX soldiers took their own lives during one briefing?!?! Where in the hell was everyone else? You mean to tell me that there wasn’t ONE person in a batallion sized group who could’ve intervened during SIX attempts? Pathetic.

  18. As a Chaplain’s Assistant (ChapAss) this is both hilarious and hitting a little close to home. So true…

    • As a former 56M (chaplains assistant) for a CSB that had to give these things, I must say that the army should be glad that the suicide numbers are so LOW.

      I mean fuck, they even demote NCOs for turning in beer mailed in by family, what hope do soldiers have once that briefing starts, none I tell you none.

  19. This is the best story yet! I had never thought to hang myself with my reflective belt, but now I know! Knowing is half the battle!

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