Preventing Military Suicides- the Inside Scoop

A 3-Minute Survey May Help Leaders Predict and Prevent Suicides


The 3-minute Difference is a fantastic book that hits the ‘attitude’ nail on the head and is perfect for people who want more success in their personal,family, business, and spiritual lives.

 – Tom Ziglar, President & CEO Ziglar

3 minute difference photoIn a recent interview, Mike Knowlton talked about this unique tool: “In the past six months, I’ve dealt with families and friends of five young men who have died by suicide or the result of substance abuse. I believe these deaths were preventable, if we could have gotten out in front of their life problems.”

 Unfortunately, in the military, young leaders can’t focus on their soldiers’ life issues because they don’t have time to get to know the soldiers well enough. Army leaders, for instance, usually have only 90 days to get to know each soldier in their units somewhat. “According to Army statistics, there have been 241 suicides in the Army this year. Why? Some leaders believe it is because there’s no bridge over the gap between the agencies, the leadership and the soldiers to help them know the soldiers and their critical needs. It is the missing link.”

Rob Cook, who has used RLM’s 3-Minute Survey for more than ten years in counseling military people, said, “Contrary to common belief, the greatest battles for military people are not on the landscapes of war, but are within the soldiers and their families. The battles are on the soil of garrison life, the plateaus of the barracks and neighborhoods and where veterans walk. The majority of poor choices, including suicide, are related to a soldier’s attitudes, beliefs and balance between head and heart as he/she navigates through life. Implementing a preventive system of training to help soldiers deal with the stresses of finances, health and broken relationships can help prevent their making poor decisions to opt for ‘drugs of choice,’ such as shopping, food, work, substance abuse, speed, violence and suicide.”

But with the 3-Minute Survey, RLM believes that leaders can get to know a man’s attitudes and stress factors in about 15 minutes. It has worked successfully in non-military settings, and so far it appears to be working in the Army, from the highest-ranked enlisted man to privates, with high levels of accuracy. RLM believes the survey can bring intense clarity to the issues faced by military leaders.

 According to Knowlton, “This generation has no understanding of fiscal responsibility. Every story is dramatic. But now couples trust me because of what the 3-Minute Survey reveals—they think I knowthem. The truth is, they all look good, but behind the Facebook persona, their lives are often disasters. What I originally thought was a ‘stupid little survey’ has altered my thinking completely and made me so much more aware of what’s behind the façade of people’s lives.”

After using the 3-Minute Survey extensively, Knowlton said, “It cuts out 90 percent of the garbage and gets past the avatar’s image to the heart of the issue. It’s an amazing tool. The more effort I put into it, the more impressed and excited I am about the survey and the RLM program.”

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