Thursday, November 27, 2008

Army Uses Video Games in Suicide Prevention

I've just read a really encouraging article that originated with the Christian Science Monitor and was republished on Veterans for Common Sense's blog.

Apparently. "The Army is conducting new training, handing out "buddy cards" to alert soldiers to problems among their friends, and recently announced a new five-year study to be undertaken with the National Institute of Mental Health."

But what I find most interesting is a new interactive game called "Beyond the Front," a kind of modern-day morality play.

" Users of the interactive video watch a drama unfold on screen and then make decisions that affect the outcome for the characters. In one scenario, Norton receives a "Dear John" letter, and then a roadside bomb kills a buddy, setting off a chain of events that require players to make decisions for the main character. Players who repeatedly choose to reach out to fellow soldiers and family members within the scenario get a happy ending. Players who opt - in their character - not to tell anyone about their problems will steer the game to a sad end.

"Another scenario focuses on a soldier's role in preventing a buddy's suicide."

The article goes on, "The service plans to send out thousands of copies of the game - part of an Army suicide prevention program costing almost $1 million - to educate soldiers about the dangers of not seeking help when they most need it." Taxpayer dollars well spent, I'd say.

Click on the title to this post and read the entire article. I hope you'll take the opportunity to browse the Veterans for Common Sense website while you're there and learn how to support this worthy organization.



  1. Anonymous3:27 PM

    I wrote a comment for the suicide article but when I tried to publish I was instructed to copy some figures to prevent spam. Rejected twice. Said the hell with it and moved on.

  2. Anonymous8:40 PM

    I was telling how a man in my barracks during basic training was suicidal when somebody wrote that his wife had sold his livestock and bought a convertible to haul young teenage boys up and down the dirt county roads. He had been the life of the party until he read that letter. I never saw Henry again after they took him away; but, I still think about him 55 years later.
    It is the feeling of being trapped.