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Armed Forces: Suicide

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what items are listed in the psychological checklist drawn up by the Army Suicide Prevention Group following the recommendation of the Walton report; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the list. (236168)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what principal recommendations were made as a result of the qualitative research conducted by the Directorate of Army Personnel Strategy in 1999 at the request of the Army Suicide Prevention Group to develop organisational responses to suicides in the Army; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the report. (236172)

The Army's Suicide Vulnerability Risk Management (SVRM) Policy sets out the current framework for addressing suicide in the Army. It is designed to assist the chain of command in identifying potential suicide victims and to provide a structure for subsequent support. The SVRM Policy was based on research conducted over a number of years, including 1999, although none from that year was published separately. I will place a copy of the SVRM Policy in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what teaching materials are available in each service on awareness and prevention of suicide and self-harm; and what steps he plans to take to encourage service personnel to seek help for trauma and other forms of psychological distress. (236187)

MOD's through-life approach to stress management training focuses on raising awareness and encouraging early support as well as addressing barriers to care (i.e. stigma). Each of the single services has procedures aimed at making all ranks aware of indicators and warnings associated with possible self-harm, and of the appropriate steps to take.

The general issue of stigma around personnel with mental health problems is something that the MOD has recently done much to address. As part of this the Royal Marines pioneered a peer-group risk assessment procedure to improve detection and signposting of problems amongst those exposed to psychologically traumatic events, in order that their peers and leaders can provide them with appropriate support or, where it is required, to refer them for specialist help. The process, known as trauma risk management (TRiM) has now been formally accepted and implemented by the Royal Marines, Royal Navy and the Army, and is being trialled in selected RAF units.