Bizarre and Sad: Defense Dept. Runs 900+ Suicide Prevention Programs

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Officials look to cost, effectiveness in weeding out some of them.

The Defense Department has more than 900 suicide prevention programs and  plans to whittle down that number based on a cost-effectiveness ratio, according to this missive from the Military Health System.

“What we have been doing is looking at efficiency and effectiveness” of the programs, Jacqueline Garrick, head of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office, said. “We have started to look at costs associated with these programs, and then looking to measure whether or not they are effective.”

The Defense Suicide Prevention Office developed an automated management tool to track the efficiency, effectiveness, requirements and costs associated with the more than 900 suicide prevention programs.

“We are able to see where the gaps and overlaps are,” Garrick said. “It helps to really see the big picture, so we can start making decisions.”

This efficiency-driven and bottom-line approach stands in stark contrast to the grim statistics compiled by the unofficial Military Suicide Reports, which says more than 100,000 veterans and active military have died from suicide since Sept. 11, 2001.