Friday, March 24, 2023

Army takes steps to stop suicides, but avoids crackdown on guns – Usky News

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Washington: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin The military on Thursday ordered several reforms to access to mental health care to reduce suicides, but seconded them for a study when they endorsed more controversial recommendations to restrict the purchase of guns and ammunition by young soldiers. sent to the panel.
An independent committee recommended in late February that the Department of Defense implement a series of gun safety measures, including extending waiting periods for the purchase of firearms and ammunition by service members on military property, and to purchase guns and ammunition This includes raising the minimum age of service members to 25. ,
In a memo released Thursday, Austin called for the establishment of a suicide prevention working group to “assess the advisability and feasibility” of recommendations made by the preliminary study committee — which would include gun measures. He asked for details on cost estimates and any “bottlenecks” to implementing other changes, and set a June 2 deadline for that report. At no point did he specifically mention gun proposals or refer to gun safety.
His orders reflect growing concerns about suicides in the military, despite more than a decade of programs and other efforts to prevent them and greater intervention by commanders, friends and family members. But his omission of any gun safety and control measures underscores the likelihood that he will face staunch resistance, especially in Congress, where such legislation has struggled in recent years.
More immediate changes address comprehensive access to care.
To more quickly provide aid to struggling troops, Austin pentagon To hire more behavioral health specialists and implement a scheduling system for appointments where patients seek care for the first time and receive multiple health care visits weekly.
He ordered military primary care health clinics to screen for unhealthy levels of alcohol, to facilitate treatment of unhealthy alcohol use, and to ensure that mental health care is also available through service members’ primary care.
“Mental health support available to our comrades should be comprehensive and easy to access,” Austin said in the memo.
Brig. General pat riderThe Pentagon press secretary told reporters at a briefing on Thursday that Austin’s orders included areas where the department already has authority to take immediate steps.
Ryder said, “While we recognize that there is no single cause of suicide, and that no preventive action, treatment or cure will completely eliminate suicide, we are committed to promoting the health, well-being and morale of our total force.” Will do everything possible.”
The preliminary study committee recommended that the department require anyone living in military housing to register all privately owned firearms. In addition, the panel said the department should restrict the possession and storage of privately owned firearms in military barracks and dormitories.
Corroborating findings in annual suicide reports, the panel noted that about 66% of all active-duty military suicides — and more than 70% of them by National Guard and Reserve members — are committed with firearms. It said that some deaths could be prevented by reducing access to guns.
Craig BryanA clinical psychologist and member of the Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review Committee said the department should slow soldiers’ access to guns — especially those purchased in stores on bases — so that those under stress People can survive the period of high risk.
He compared the expanded gun safety measures to requirements the department puts on motorcycle use — such as mandatory helmets — which are often more strict than some state laws. Asked how likely such changes are, Bryan said he believes the military is more receptive to such limits than civilians.


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