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Military Suicide Prevention Center Founded for Integrating Resources and Ensuring Combat Force(2012-09-12)

(10th Sep, Yi-li Juo, Taipei, Military News Agency) MND held opening ceremony in Beitou Armed Forces Hospital today and it is also World Suicide Prevention Day.  The center will integrate resources of psychology, pathology, mental care and counseling to establish management system of self-injury prevention then further achieve the goal of preventing military personnel’s self-injury and ensuring combat force.

The opening ceremony was held by Minister of MND, Hua-chu Kao.  Chief of the General Staff, General Chen-yi, Lin, Deputy Minister, General Kuang-yi Kao, and Deputy Commanders of armed forces, superintendents of military hospitals, Director of Suicide Prevention Center, Ming-bin Lee, former Deputy Minister, Shih-chang, chao and medical scholars were all invited for the ceremony.

Minister Kao expressed that for the consecutive 13 years, suicide had been listed as one of top ten leading causes of death since 1997 and National Suicide Prevention Center was founded in 2005.  Under the leadership of Director Lee, suicide dropped to No.11 in 2010 and No.12 in 2011 among the leading causes of death.  The decreased suicide rate annually proves prevention center’s outstanding achievement in suicide prevention.

According to Minister Kao, MND is aware of various proactive measures taken by government and society for suicide prevention and decides to take the lead in military via military medical units to establish Military Suicide Prevention Center.  The center expects to cooperate with hospitals and share resources for fulfilling the social obligation of caring lives.

Minister Kao said that according to 2012 Times magazine, issue of 23rd July, U.S. servicemen’s average daily suicide figures almost equaled to the numbers who sacrificed their lives in battlefield.  Those who committed suicide are servicemen under U.S. Armed Forces’ control and protection.  Among U.S. veterans, there is one commits suicide every 80 minutes.  

Kao mentioned two cases happened in U.S. Armed Forces recently.  One is Apache pilot graduated from United States Military Academy and the other one is military doctor of Army.  They both held high self-request, had outstanding performance in their own unit and strived to fulfill their own duties to perfection which earned senior officer’s recognition. In the end, they both committed suicide with hanging and shooting their brain respectively to finish their precious lives.

Therefore, suicide prevention is certainly a trend to strengthen military organization for each country’s armed forces.  According to Kao, facing the promotion of volunteer military system, it is required to refine the measures of self-injury prevention of military personnel via mental care center and medical treatment of military medical hospitals to provide military officers’ the best mental and physical care.

Kao emphasized that Military National Prevention Center is a milestone for lowering self-injury cases of national armed forces; cadres of each rank should put self-injury prevention measures into practice and combine other supporting measures such as the mental counseling system, medical treatment, individual case management, and better communication to minimize the loss of precious lives.  It is expected to reach zero mortality rate from suicide through the promotion of suicide prevention.   

Kao also paid compliment to medical officer, Colonel Chih-kang Chen who called police in time and saved the patient who tried to commit suicide.  Kao highly recognized his effort of promoting the relationship between patients and doctors and caring about patients’ mental status.  His effort avoided the happening of a tragedy and set an example for military medical officers.  

Director of National Suicide Prevention Center, Ming-bin Lee recognized MND’s efforts of promoting suicide prevention.  According to Lee, suicide prevention starts with lowering risk factors and rising protection factors.  As national armed forces has paved good foundation in related works, Lee believes MND will carry out self-injury prevention measures based on love and care; and this work can be expanded to develop from small to larger scale.  He believes everyone can be the guardian of human lives to show true love toward others and there are three steps under this concept.  The first one is ask which means actively showing loving kindness and listening to others; the second one is respond which means supporting and accompanying them at the proper time; the third step is transferring which means transferring cases and keeping showing love toward them. Through keeping asking and caring for others, Lee expected these measures can not only lower national armed forces’ suicide rate but also make each serviceman have a happy mood so they can fulfill their duties of defending the country without worries. 

Minister Kao and guests started the ceremony by cutting the ribbon, unveiling and pressing the starting button which symbolized the connotation of minor change but full launch which initiates national armed forces’ detailed networks for suicide prevention.  The center will put transferring counseling, paying attention to signs and developing alert function into practice and jointly create a safer environment.

Kao also visited each unit’s works of suicide prevention center which includes academic research, educational promotion, individual case control and administration planning.  Kao personally made a call of 24-hour help line for suicide, 0800-395-995 as a test.  He expected the center to establish fellow workers’ concept of life community and suicide prevention mechanism based on care, listening, comprehension and cultivate national armed forces’ profound combat force. 

Moreover, Kao also listened to Beitou Armed Forces Hospital’s briefing regarding the renovation and reuse of a municipal historic site, Former Japanese Military Hospital, Beitou Branch.  Minister Kao recognized the hospital’s efforts and intention for cultural preservation.


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