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    Chaplains train for suicide prevention

    Chaplains train for suicide prevention

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel | Chaplains discuss their history and experiences working with suicide cases during the...... read more read more

    CAMP PENDLETON, CA, UNITED STATES

    02.12.2015

    Story by Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel 

    1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade

    CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - The military provides service members with hours of training every year to ensure that they are proficient in their job skills and prepared to face whatever obstacles they might find. While some training can be conducted online or on a rifle range, others require a more personal touch.

    Chaplains provide a unique resource for service members by creating a safe space where they can discuss anything without fear of judgment or repercussions. That confidentiality is defined and protected by Secretary of the Navy Instruction 1730.9.

    “The Chaplain Corps is the one entity where somebody can go to talk about their deepest thoughts and concerns in confidence,” said Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben, the Navy Chief of Chaplains. "We would hope that individuals would feel in the safe space that they will come to find a way to take control of their lives no matter how hopeless their lives may seem to them at that point."

    Recently, chaplains and religious program specialists participated in a Professional Development Training Course focused on suicide prevention and intervention conducted at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Feb. 9-12.

    In 2013, the Department of Defense Suicide Event Report showed that the suicide rate for active duty service members was approximately 18.7 out of every 100,000, a significant improvement from the 22.7 in 2012. However, suicide prevention requires more than understanding the statistics.

    Petty Officer First Class Zachariah Whitrock, a religious program specialist with 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, said that this training goes deeper into the realms of what the Navy and the Marine Corps have to offer.

    Whitrock explained that the training involved discussions with subject matter experts with more than 30 years of experience, as well as case studies showing what tools are most effective.

    “If a Marine or Sailor comes in with suicidal ideations, the most important thing a chaplain can do is just care for them,” said Whitrock.

    Beyond just listening, chaplains can help Marines and Sailors find tools to navigate the obstacles of military life.

    “Most people who have suicidal ideations are looking for a solution to a problem,” said Whitrock. “Chaplains are very good at finding resources for them and even better at identifying the cause of their pain.”

    Support provided by the Chaplain Corps makes a difference in terms of how individual service members not only function, but thrive, and that they could not be effective without the support of each branch of service, according to Kibben.

    “Of all the services, the Marine Corps really has demonstrated their appreciation and their value for what chaplains and RPs bring to the individual and to the organization,” she said.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.12.2015
    Date Posted: 02.13.2015 16:18
    Story ID: 154506
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US 

    Web Views: 172
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    Chaplains train for suicide prevention