MSRC News Details

Secretary of Defense calls suicide research the 'fourth pillar'

Speaking at the DoD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference on June 22, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta outlined the military's approach to the problem of suicide. As well as leadership, access to healthcare, and a focus on mental health, Secretary Panetta added research as the fourth pillar in the comprehensive response to this issue.

"Finally, fourthly, we’ve got to increase research in suicide prevention. In partnership across government and with the private sector, the fourth pillar of our approach is to improve our understanding of suicide, to improve our understanding of related mental health care issues through better and more improved scientific research. I’d like to note the leadership of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius on this issue and thank her for coming to address this conference earlier."

"All of us recognize that there is still far too much that we don’t know about the causes of suicide, the effectiveness of particular suicide prevention programs, and the linkage between psychological health and traumatic brain injury. Trying to find out more about these very difficult, complex issues is not easy, but we’ve got to do everything we can to continue the research effort into learning more about this difficult issue. Many of you are working tirelessly to address these gaps. As part of this effort, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs are working together to build a data repository that will help us better analyze suicides and suicide attempts and do what we can to spot trends and to get ahead of that. Likewise, we are improving program evaluation so that we can better focus our resources on those programs that are proven to be effective."

See also Panetta Outlines Anti-Suicide Program

Full Text of Sec. Panetta's Speech