JRTC and Fort Polk Team

Allow us to extend a personal welcome to you and your Family as you join our team at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) and Fort Polk.  We take great pride in the sacrifice and service of each Soldier, Department of the Army (DA) Civilian and Family members.

Since 1941, Fort Polk has served as a cornerstone for training troops to support and defend the Constitution, and today, we have emerged as the Army’s premier combat training center with world-class training facilities and unique training opportunities. We are proud of the large contributions that Fort Polk makes to our great nation. 

At the same time, we understand that our Soldiers and families sometimes need some extra help. That’s why this page is dedicated to resources that are available to you should you need that assistance.

In 2018, the U.S. military experienced the highest number of suicides among active-duty personnel in at least six years. Suicide is a major threat to Soldiers, civilians and Family members.

The increase in the number of reported suicides set off various alarms with the Army’s senior leadership. Since then, the Army has worked to ensure that all leaders are familiar with the resources available to at-risk Soldiers and other community members.

Guided by Army Regulation 600-63, suicide prevention training takes into account the challenges our Soldiers and families often face from financial, relationship, legal, substance abuse and medical issues. Ultimately, the goal of prevention is to develop healthy, resilient Soldiers to the point where suicide is not an option.

Defeating suicide will take active involvement from everyone. Civilian and military research on suicide has demonstrated that it is a complex phenomenon which defies easy solutions. The Army has expanded access to services and programs to help Soldiers and family members improve their ability to cope with the stresses associated with military service.

The increased use of these services indicates that Soldiers and families are using these programs. For example, the number of Soldiers that have been seen in behavioral health clinics has steadily increased over the past five years, and the total number of behavioral health clinic visits increased.  These types of programs are geared toward getting the Army out "in front" of suicide, and will ultimately help lower suicide rates.

The Army has developed numerous resources to reach out and educate our Soldiers at every level about suicide prevention. You’ll find information about those programs on this web site.

Stigma toward seeking behavioral health support is a national problem which the Army takes very seriously. Numerous surveys indicate that some Soldiers are reluctant to seek help because they view it as a sign of weakness, or they believe their leaders will view it as a sign of weakness.

However, over the past several years there has been a decrease in the percentage of Soldiers that hold these views. It will take time to change this culture, but through actions and example, Army leaders are beginning that transformation.

Reinforcing the Army Profession and its values to heighten awareness and instill responsibility and accountability is everyone’s business. It’s important for each of us to cultivate an environment where we are accountable to ourselves and for each others' resilience, recognize warning signs, connect those at risk to resources and promote help-seeking behaviors as a sign of strength. Doing this not only increases individual, unit and Army resiliency and performance, but also guarantees our ability to cope with the rigors of today's military life. Each Army teammate contributes to our mission and we must foster a sustained environment of readiness to “Be There for your buddy, Be There for your family, Be There for yourself”.

David W. Bass                                                                           Patrick D. Frank

Command Sergeant Major, US Army                                  Brigadier General, US Army