Maj. Gen. James Bonner and Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena | Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood | Sept. 2, 2022
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Suicide is a public health issue and prevention is a top priority for our military. Suicide can be a result of several factors; the primary reasons for service members and their families are failed or failing relationships, work stressors, legal and financial struggles and misusing substances.
People with risk factors may feel trapped or isolated. They may use undesirable coping strategies to respond to situations including keeping to themselves, trying to ignore the root causes, or by engaging in high-risk behaviors. We must understand these factors and recognize the reluctance to seek help.
Firearms are the leading cause of deaths by suicide among service members and their families. We can reduce death by suicides by properly storing firearms in safes, lock boxes or with trigger guards and with the ammunition stored separately. Decreasing access to lethal means can buy precious time to prevent tragedy.
Each of us can protect against the threat of suicide through relationships and being available for our battle buddies, co-workers, neighbors and families. Leaders own the climate of their organization and must know the individuals, families and situations in their formations. If you sense something is not right with a teammate, or if you know someone has been struggling, reach out — ask if they are struggling, offer resources and stay connected.
Those who seek help demonstrate a tremendous amount of strength and courage by coming forward, and we must support them. Many people who have suicidal ideations can overcome those negative thoughts with support and access to resources such as these on Fort Leonard Wood:
- Family Advocacy Program – 573.569.1507
- Army Wellness Center – 573.596.9677
- Stress, sleep and nutritional management classes
- Army Community Service – 573.596.2012
- Army Emergency Relief
- Financial Readiness Program
- Exceptional Family Member Program
- Relocation Readiness Program
- Legal Assistance Office – 573.596.0629
- Employee Assistance Program (for Department of Defense civilians) – 573.596.7199
- Army Substance Abuse Program – 573.596.0938
- Substance Use Disorder Clinical Care – 573.596.0522
- Behavioral Health Service Line – 573.596.0522
- On-call Chaplain – 573.563.6126
The new national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline number is 988; call 1.800.273.8255 or text 838255 for the Veteran’s Crisis Line. Military OneSource also provides free and confidential 24/7 support to service members and their families at 1.800.342.9647.
We are very proud to serve with you.
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