Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday that preventing suicides is a foremost leadership responsibility shouldered by all commanders, but especially by junior leader, non-commissioned officers and petty officers with direct oversight over troops.
Calling suicide “the most frustrating challenge” of his position, Panetta said the Defense Department can create programs, conduct research and lead innovation in neuroscience, but leaders must tackle the issue “head on” because prevention falls to them.
“We will not tolerate actions that belittle, that haze, that ostracize any individual, particularly those who have made the decision to get help. Leadership throughout the department must make it understood that seeking help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness,” he said.
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