Army enacts Stand Down Day

POSTED: 08:36 AM MDT Sep 27, 2012    UPDATED: 03:29 PM MST Dec 25, 2012 

Army soldiers have been ordered to put aside their usual duties and spend Thursday on suicide prevention training.

This military "stand down" comes as the Pentagon struggles with a spike in the number of self-inflicted deaths this year.

The Army's top enlisted soldier, Sgt. Maj. Raymond Chandler, says the day will focus on making sure that troops and their families know what programs are available to them and helping them get over the embarrassment that keeps many from seeking help.

Fort Bliss commander, Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, wrote in the post newspaper, The Monitor, that everything the Army does is about preventing loss of life.
He also stated, "We need to all embrace getting help for ourselves and those around us who need it. Seeking help is a sign of strength. We are creating a culture of seeking help and looking after each other, but we must continue to do better."

Troops with duties such as combat operations in Afghanistan or medical duties in army hospitals will schedule their training when possible. The Army is the largest of the services and it has the highest number of suicides. It is the only one planning the special training Thursday.