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Army updates health promotion regulations

Dec 10, 2009

By Army Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 1, 2009) -- The Army has revised its regulations on health promotion and suicide prevention to provide an improved, comprehensive "how to" guide for commanders and Soldiers.

The updated Army Health Promotion Regulation (AR 600-63) and new Army Suicide Prevention Pamphlet (PAM 600-24) provide a holistic approach to health promotion, risk reduction and suicide prevention, said Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director of the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force.

"We've made a lot of improvements in the past six months and our policies have to keep up with those changes," McGuire said. "The new versions of AR 600-63 and DA PAM 600-24 contain enhanced guidance and information to help Army leaders, suicide prevention professionals and other key personnel improve our programs at the installation and garrison level. That's where the impact of these changes need to be felt."

The updated regulation and pamphlet are designed in part for local community health promotion councils and suicide prevention task forces, officials said.

AR 600-63 expands Army commander's responsibilities to include ensuring Soldiers identified for suicide risk or related behaviors are managed in a consistent manner. The revised regulation also promotes the battle buddy system, improves unit watch suicide intervention procedures and requires commanders to establish a policy that protects Soldiers from belittlement for seeking or receiving behavioral health assistance.

"The new regulations provide more detailed guidance for implementing health promotion and suicide prevention programs, and for using all the tools now available to save lives in our Army community," said Walter Morales, Army Suicide Prevention Program Manager. "An organization as large as the Army relies on effective, clearly-written policies that empower Army leaders at the lowest level to act. That was our goal in updating these regulations."

The updated Army pamphlet on suicide prevention (PAM 600-24) now provides a blueprint for establishing Community Health Promotion Councils and Suicide Prevention Task forces at appropriate levels of command. It standardizes council and task force membership and more clearly identifies member roles and responsibilities so these programs can be executed uniformly across the

This pamphlet is a major revision that reiterates the policy in AR 600-63 and provides further explanations for commanders to utilize as a handbook in implementing Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention.

"These updated regulations reflect the Army's commitment to developing and implementing a multi-tiered holistic approach to health promotion, risk reduction and suicide prevention. We believe this enhanced guidance will provide installation personnel with relevant information to most effectively deliver services designed to mitigate risk and reduce suicide in Soldiers, family Members and DA civilians" said Karen Perkins, Installation Management Command (IMCOM) G-1.

AR 600-63 and DA PAM 600-24 can be downloaded via Army Knowledge online.

For the most current information about all Army suicide prevention programs, visit http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/default.asp

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