The mission of the Unit Ministry Team (UMT) is to furnish comprehensive religious support to soldiers,
their families, and other authorized personnel. In order for chaplain assistants to perform religious
support mission tasks, they need to develop a knowledge and understanding of the causes of suicide, the
warning signs of suicide, actions to take when faced with a potential suicide and actions to avoid when
faced with a potential suicide.
Chaplain assistants are not permitted to conduct formal counseling in suicide situations.
Chaplain assistants should be able to recognize danger signals and evaluate the seriousness of the
situation in order to intervene either by notifying or by bringing the individual to the chaplain or
appropriate referral services.
Chaplain Assistants, in the absence of supervisory personnel or referral services, should proceed
immediately to prepare an evaluation of the soldier who is a potential risk for suicide.
PART A - IDENTIFY THE FACTORS WHICH CAUSE A PERSON TO
CONTEMPLATE OR ATTEMPT SUICIDE.
In order to isolate factors which cause a person to contemplate or actually attempt suicide, we must
develop a general understanding of possible sources of the problem and be able to evaluate the degree of
hopelessness associated with the problem. Since it is not uncommon for many people to experience
stress and think about suicide at some point, it is important for the chaplain assistant to determine
whether the current problem has resulted from a combination of events that could lead to suicide as the
only option to solve the problem.
Lesson One will cover some of the statistics about suicide and a profile of the type of person who has
been known to contemplate or attempt suicide. This will help in providing the chaplain assistant with
basic information concerning individuals who may be at increased risk for suicide.
Statistics About Suicide -
In the past 25 years there has been a 300% increase in the adolescent suicide rate.
Nearly 6,500 young people kill themselves each year.
30,000 Americans die by their own hand each year.
1,000 suicide attempts are made in the U. S. daily. One suicide occurs every minute.
Myth: People who talk about suicide rarely attempt or commit suicide.
Fact: Nearly 80 percent of those who attempt or commit suicide give some warning of their
intentions. A person who talks about committing suicide, may be giving a warning that should
not be ignored.
Myth: Talking to people about their suicidal feelings will cause them to commit suicide.
Fact: Asking people about their suicidal feelings usually makes the people feel relieved that
someone finally recognized their emotional pain, and they will feel safer talking about it.