Army Struggles To Respond To Epidemic Of Suicides During Suicide Prevention Briefs Paul August 20, 2012 Army 89 Comments Follow Duffel Blog: 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.” James Pelfrey says: July 1, 2014 at 4:44 PM “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?” My eyes are watering, I’m laughing so hard. Fred Annett says: May 9, 2014 at 2:42 PM I retired from the Army, I admit it….we make soldiers do dumb shit…a lot. Hilarious piece Jake Macaree says: May 4, 2014 at 5:39 PM Seems to me like these suicide briefings are causing the problem and sound like bull shit……… Yeah let’s sit in a room all day ad watch slides about killing them selves that’ll cheer them up Josh Storment says: April 26, 2014 at 2:40 PM This “anti suicide nasal spray” sounds suspiciously alot like cocaine… just throwing it out there. Ira Gene Fisk says: February 7, 2014 at 4:29 PM This is hilarious. Kirsten Corrao says: February 7, 2014 at 4:29 PM Leave it to Fox News to report an anti-suicide nasal spray. Shawn P. O'Halloran says: February 7, 2014 at 4:29 PM By far my favorite article, yet. Anonymous says: February 7, 2014 at 4:29 PM Funniest thing I’ve ever read, my wife thought I was having a frigging seizure. Keep up the good work. Stephanie Grant says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM Dark humor at it’s best! So wrong…..yet so funny. Chantry Hammond says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM Clearly it should have been 3000 slides. Mike Harris says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM Its good to know the faces the same suicide problem the Marines have. During my last brief we had a guy pull out a pistol and not only did he kill himself but the instuctor and projector as well. The command charged the armorer with neglegence that lead to the destruction of training equipment. When will it end? Anna Marie says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM Wow PedroMercie Vega says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM Goodness gracious! Of course this is not true – but it should be. Jose J Morell says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM How can you find suicide funny? been on deployment for almost 4 months and already seen too many guys do it. Suicide is not a joke and this disrespectful. Freedom Seeker says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM The propaganda about suicide in the military is used by the Democrat communist party to marginalize returning soldiers as unstable domestic terrorists. “Liberals” including Obama, think the military stands in the way of turning America into a socialist state and limits their agenda. Alastair Parker says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM the suicide prevention slideshow made me want to end myself. Robert Neville says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM You know, I found this article very informative…at least until I attempted to beat myself to death with a soup tin. No, really. Colonel Neville. E.j. Rupert says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM “Plan C” sounds like something Medical would say. John Brian Culp says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM You know, 27 Sept 2012 will be a VERY BAD day! https://www.facebook.com/InstallationManagementCommunity/posts/10151031670506914 Brandon Smith says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM Poor bastards. Frank Thompson Sr. says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM reminds me of the DUI briefings we always got before holidays at cherry pt… Mike Harris Sr. says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM Fuck ‘em. If they can’t sit through a slide show they wouldn’t be worth a damn in the shit. Josef Hughson says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM I made this joke not knowing about this article. Justin E. Miller says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM PowerPoint saves lives, people. IT SAVES LIVES! Thuy-Linh Pollack says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM LOL! My sentiments exactly!! Shane Merrill says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM This had me laughing so hard I was crying. Noneya Spencer says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM I always said the amount of suicide briefs I went to would one day make me want to kill myself hahaha. Jake Moss says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM Funny Robert Hill says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM Tried to slit my wrists with the ACE card once. Damn, those things are sharp. Jason Falwell says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM I laughed so hard I think I pissed myself. Glad I got out before they added those 400-500 extra slides! Terry Flood Sr. says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM Suicide briefs are clearly not the answer. I’m convinced the Army would make Disney World boring. They’d call in vector control on Mickey mouse and I could see a trip on a roller coaster requiring eye pro, gloves and reflective belt. Smiling wouldn’t be authorized either. I love this site. Pepe Tandazo says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM 400 or 500 slides extra will resolve the problem Robert Wayne Stephenson says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM Gives the phrase, “Death by PowerPoint” a whole new meaning. Samantha O'Connor says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM I laughed so incredibly hard at this..thank you for making my day Daniel Cervello says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM yup..sounds about right. Pablo Jasso says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM I witnessed a suicide May 1981 at Ft. Dix. Young female soldier took her life by jumping out a top floor window. V.A. needs clarification. Is there anyone who was there and can help me? Please e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, Pablo Jasso. Dan Widge says: February 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM A few years ago we had a Sergeant Major in our BN who loved to give briefings. The problems were: he had no idea what he was doing, he’d talk for 3 hours about something that should have taken 5 minutes, then he’d keep talking. We’d worked all day and he slept, so he’d keep us up until midnight. Every night he wanted all his senior NCOs to come to a meeting. I never went…about 2 weeks later he asked where I was. Since this was our National Guard summer camp…by the time he figured out I was MIA, it was over. When he gave his suicide prevention class, he’d order people to get help and not kill themselves. Some Army Guy says: September 26, 2012 at 8:58 PM 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. sherry2310 says: September 13, 2012 at 4:37 PM 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! JB says: September 5, 2012 at 5:52 PM 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!!! JB says: September 5, 2012 at 5:53 PM Where’s my damn PT belt?! Turbo Slug says: September 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM God this is funny! I just sat through four hours of this crap last month and “2700 slides” sounds about right. Spc. Smartass says: September 3, 2012 at 3:13 AM The story hits home, because half of us leave those briefings more suicidal than when we went in. Smedley says: August 29, 2012 at 11:54 PM As the saying goes…”Suicide Prevention… It’s Not for Everyone…” Ground Pounder says: August 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM Idk about you man but the sexual assault briefs just turn me on Darrell B says: August 24, 2012 at 2:55 PM 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? Persy says: August 23, 2012 at 3:32 PM 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)! leftoftheboom says: August 23, 2012 at 2:22 PM Long live the PT Belt. ironraven06 says: August 23, 2012 at 2:14 PM Comical Stuff! AtDrum says: August 23, 2012 at 1:42 PM 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… armyofwon says: August 23, 2012 at 8:00 AM 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. Axe says: August 22, 2012 at 10:53 PM 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. leftoftheboom says: August 22, 2012 at 1:30 PM Laughing lets you know your alive. The dead can’t laugh. Laugh for them. It’s the only cure. CW4 Carrie Hancock says: August 22, 2012 at 12:06 PM 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. John Q. Public says: August 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM 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. Wzrd1 says: September 2, 2012 at 8:31 PM Chief Carrie isn’t available to respond, as she’s busy filling out her form ID10T. Darrell B says: August 22, 2012 at 6:49 PM 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. leftoftheboom says: August 22, 2012 at 11:36 AM 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 Richard J. Spor Military Contact @Cath. Charity says: August 21, 2012 at 7:13 PM email@example.com QB says: October 13, 2012 at 10:17 PM I didn’t get a response when I sent my final straw email to Rick after reading his comment drove me over the edge. Richard J. Spor Military Contact @Cath. Charity says: August 21, 2012 at 7:11 PM 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. Casskardeke says: August 21, 2012 at 11:54 AM 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! Major Major Major says: August 21, 2012 at 9:54 AM “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. Non_Sequitur says: August 22, 2012 at 10:50 AM Outstanding, sir! Job well done. Great way to aid the Force Shaping initiative as well. Very thoughful of you! Lt. Butero-Trinkejo says: August 29, 2012 at 2:27 AM 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. Air Force LT says: August 20, 2012 at 3:02 PM 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. Darrell B says: August 20, 2012 at 5:35 PM That’s two!! LTs never disappoint. Chris MP says: August 20, 2012 at 10:51 PM 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 Bill Cooper says: August 20, 2012 at 11:11 AM 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. Darrell B says: August 20, 2012 at 11:15 AM HAAaaaaa… hooked one!! Thanks, Bill. I could get used to this trolling shit. Bits says: August 20, 2012 at 12:13 PM Darrell: Nicely done. Nevada Todd says: August 21, 2012 at 8:39 PM Great job D, but when practicing catch and release you need to use barbless hooks. You had him good. Stupid_America says: August 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM The PT belt has injured or killed scores of Soldiers; the truth is out there Army Spouse (P) says: August 21, 2012 at 1:01 AM 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! Darrell B says: August 20, 2012 at 10:57 AM 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. Darrell B says: August 20, 2012 at 11:13 AM *battalion Bregil says: August 22, 2012 at 7:55 PM You do realize that this is a parody, right? Darrell B says: August 24, 2012 at 2:52 PM Gotcha!! Get in my boat. 13steps2nowhere says: August 20, 2012 at 9:18 AM As a Chaplain’s Assistant (ChapAss) this is both hilarious and hitting a little close to home. So true… Gomer says: August 23, 2012 at 1:31 PM 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. That Guy... says: August 20, 2012 at 9:01 AM 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!