The armed services should establish a clearer process for assessing the effectiveness of suicide-prevention programs, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends. The Pentagon’s Defense Suicide Prevention Office, which oversees the process, should work with the services to improve collaboration and reduce duplication of effort, GAO also believes.
As the nation’s chief watchdog agency, GAO was asked by Congress last year to study the military’s suicide-prevention programs and identify areas in need of improvement. On Capitol Hill and at the Pentagon alike, leadership is concerned about the increased prevalence of suicide among members of the armed forces.
“From 2014 to 2019, the rate of suicide increased from 20.4 to 25.9 per 100,000 active component members,” GAO stated in the April 26 report that offered the recommendations.
The report noted that the services each use different definitions for suicide-related terms – a practice that “could negatively affect the reliability and validity” of reported suicide data and thus impede the efficacy of prevention efforts. The agency also recommended that the Defense Department no longer publish two separate suicide reports from two separate offices, both of which rely upon the same data.
“While these reports serve different purposes improved collaboration between the two offices could help minimize duplication of effort and improve efficiency, potentially freeing resources for other suicide-prevention activities,” the report stated.
Live Facebook event on suicide prevention coming up:
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021 AT 2 PM EDT | Free · Facebook Live
Organized by OneMoreDay
Come listen to Dr. David Rudd who is one of the most well known experts on suicide prevention. Our topic will be “immediate action items that can taken to reduce suicide”.
This is the most important suicide prevention webinar we have hosted yet. We already have several hundred confirmations and our panel includes the following people:
Members from the Joint Chiefs, the Joint Chiefs J1, the Army War College, the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Chief of Naval Operations staff, the National Guard Bureau, the heads of the largest VSOs (the VFW, the Legion, DAV, MOAA and the Air Force Association). We have Senators, Congressman, state and local leaders, private corporation leaders, State Suicide prevention leaders and 7 State’s Veteran Departments.
We have flag level leaders from the Army; the Navy, the Air Force and Space Force. We also have many of the boots on the ground suicide prevention people.
One More Day will also be launching two new initiatives. We will also have the President of LivingWorks who will briefly describe their suicide prevention programs.