News: World Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 4-10
Story by Cpl. Russell Midori
PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- Since 2001, the U.S. military has been engaged in conflicts around the globe, most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. These conflicts have exacted a substantial toll on Marines, sailors and their families.
The resulting stress can manifest itself in different ways, including suicide, which is increasing across the Department of Defense
Suicide and suicidal behavior affects individuals of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, previous suicide attempts, hopelessness, access to lethal means, recent loss of loved ones and unemployment are just a few examples of risk factors.
In 2010, the Marine Corps suffered a loss with 37 suicides. While that number has decreased since 2009 with its 52 suicides, the number of attempts continue to rise.
The Marine Corps uses a community approach to suicide prevention and relies primarily on gatekeeper programs in which local commands, front-line leaders and the Marines are trained to identify those at risk for suicide and refer them to the appropriate resources.
The Suicide Prevention Program focuses on raising awareness, promoting self care and offering educational lectures and training on how to see the warning signs.
Marines reluctant to seek help may not want to bring attention to their problems. They are concerned that this attention will affect their career potential. Leaders must work against the negative outlook on asking for help.
Most military suicides are the result of a series of stages that begin with generally sad, unfocused and self-destructive thoughts. Relationship problems are the primary contributor to suicidal thoughts.
Factors that buffer against suicide and suicidal behaviors include high self-esteem, social connectedness, problem-solving skills and supportive family and friends.
By listening and responding appropriately to people in the earliest stages , often times it is possible to prevent suicide.
World Suicide Prevention Week represents a call for action and involvement by communities and organizations worldwide to contribute to the cause of suicide awareness and prevention through education.
By collaborating together in this endeavor, we can indeed save lives. One suicide is one too many. Suicide can be prevented. Everyone can help.