SOURCE - RESTRICTION: ASSOCIATED PRESS / AP CLIENTS ONLY
Location - Date: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington / February 5, 2013
SOUNDBITE: JOHN MCHUGH/ARMY SECRETARY
We know that soldiers often have ... things they are suffering that are influenced by other things whether it's PTSD or a substance abuse problem, and we have programs for each one of those, but because of our structure often times those multiple programs aren't applied in a way or a time or fashion that we'd like to see.
2. SOUNDBITE: JOHN MCHUGH/ARMY SECRETARY
I take the time to sign a letter of condolence to every survivor, now matter how a soldier dies. And it's chilling to me to see the growing number of letters that I have to sign as a result of a soldier taking his or her own life. Particularly in contrast to the dropping number that are coming out of theatre. Too often, so often these are young soldiers, people who in my eyes have so much ahead of them and to see that loss, that's heartbreaking.
3. SOUNDBITE: JOHN MCHUGH/ARMY SECRETARY
One of the most important things that can happen doesn't happen because an Army Secretary signs a directive or we sign another program. It's that soldiers look after soldiers. We're trying to instill that into virtually every level of training, that you know, it's your responsibility to keep an eye on your buddy. And we're trying to give them the tools to understand the things to look for, so a friend can step forward, put their arm around another soldier and say ' Come on. Let's get some help.'
Army leadership is looking to improve coordination between its mental health programs and other soldier-resilience efforts.
Army Secretary John McHugh visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Monday to announce the results of a yearlong review of the Army's mental health system.
McHugh has asked to Army officials to finish a plan for a new resilience structure in the next couple weeks. He hopes to improve processing times in the disability evaluation system and has the goal of lowering the incidence of suicide, sexual assault and substance abuse among soldiers.
McHugh's plan includes integrating resilience programs into the day-to-day training of soldiers.