This past March, the Army launched the Ready and Resilient campaign; this campaign integrates and synchronizes multiple efforts and programs to improve the readiness and resilience of the Army family — Soldiers, civilians and families. Ready and Resilient creates a holistic, collaborative and coherent approach to increase individual and unit readiness and resilience.
The tools and programs the Army has developed improve methods for leaders, peers and family members to understand high-risk behaviors and intervene early; thereby preventing suicide, sexual harassment and sexual assault, bullying and hazing, substance abuse and domestic violence.
I expect leaders to engage their subordinates and re-familiarize themselves with the various resources available at www.army.mil/readyandresilient, and take advantage of them. At the end of the day, being ready and resilient is all about leadership and personal responsibility.
As September is Suicide Prevention Month, I would like to take this opportunity to focus on this difficult topic. Suicide is a serious challenge facing the Army family; combating this challenge requires everyone in the unit to be aware of the risk factors for suicide and understand how to respond. Leaders must be at the forefront of this effort, but it must also involve friends, peers, families and co-workers. The success of the Army suicide prevention program rests upon proactive, caring and courageous people who, recognizing the imminent danger, take immediate action to save a life.
Eliminating suicide from our ranks is no small task; it is a mission that takes committed leadership and Soldiers who care about those around them.
The way to get ahead of this challenge is for leaders at all levels to get to know their Soldiers, peers, co-workers, and families individually, and understand the personal and professional stressors that are affecting them. This allows us to identify risk factors early and find ways to help someone in need work through these stressors by getting them the help they need. A command climate of trust and accountability is the key to establishing an environment where this is possible.
I encourage you to focus on the continuous education and training of identifying risk factors, resources available, and the steps to help someone in need. Understanding these will allow our suicide prevention efforts to be successful.
The Ready and Resilient campaign and suicide prevention both fall in line with one of my imperatives: comprehensive fitness. When leaders demonstrate care and compassion through dignified, fair and respectful treatment of Soldiers and families, their sense of self-worth soars and increases their ability to handle the challenging and demanding situations they are placed in day in and day out.
Be an engaged leader. It will make a difference.