Archive for May 23rd, 2009

More Philly Police Headquarters Photoblogging

A couple more shots from my Totally Inconspicuous Photo Recon of Philly Police Headquarters:

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May 23rd, 2009 at 07:05pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging

I Mean, Aside From That…

If only there were some way to reduce suicides among our combat troops – but how?

For more than two hours, Chiarelli, Army personnel chief Lt. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle and a roomful of other generals combed through the facts surrounding a dozen of the Army’s latest suicides, with commanders from Afghanistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa and bases throughout the United States participating in a video teleconference.

Such meetings are one piece of a broader effort to arrest the Army’s rising suicide rate, which has surged to record levels in the past year. In 2008, 140 soldiers on active duty took their own lives, continuing a trend in which the number of suicides has increased more than 60 percent since 2003, surpassing the rate for the general U.S. population.

To deal with the problem, the Army has added to the ranks of mental health and substance abuse counselors. The service also required all units to cease operations for two to four hours to talk about suicide prevention in February and March.

Chiarelli’s monthly meetings are the Army’s way of sleuthing out patterns and identifying new policies to deal with the trend. In the most recent meeting, conducted last week, commanders were brutally candid about what went wrong — a mental health screener who missed signs of distress; the failure to take notice when a normally reliable infantryman with three combat tours didn’t show up for an Army school; the dangerous interactions of drugs, dispensed to help soldiers deal with combat stress, with caffeine and alcohol.

It’s too bad there isn’t some easily identifiable root cause behind this alarming trend…

Many soldiers are now in the midst of their third or fourth combat tour, and Army surveys show that mental health deteriorates with each one. Senior Army officials said they are focusing more resources, including extra mental health counselors, where troops are returning from multiple deployments. This year, Fort Campbell, Ky., which is home to the frequently deployed 101st Airborne Division, has had 14 suicides.

“We probably don’t know how many mental health care providers we need after eight years of war and three and four deployments,” Chiarelli said.

I guess it’ll always be a mystery.

(Am I the only one who thinks this is like reading about managers at an unshielded nuclear power plant trying to figure out how to reduce the incidences of cancer among their staff?)

1 comment May 23rd, 2009 at 12:18pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Iraq,War


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