New program aims at suicide prevention

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni
Story by Lance Cpl. Jennifer Pirante

Date: 01.21.2010
Posted: 05.03.2011 07:05
News ID: 69748

IWAKUNI, Japan - Marines are trained to be physically and mentally prepared for any situation whether in combat or in their daily lives.

With the demands of the job as well as the family, financial and personal responsibilities every individual has, dealing with issues can become stressful.

For a new Marine, finding a way to cope can be especially overwhelming, and for few, thoughts of suicide may occur.

“When you put all these issues together; financial, medical, being away from home, a person begins to feel like there is no way out,” said Lt. Cmdr. Denis Cox, Marine Aircraft Group 12 chaplain.

The suicide rate among the Marine Corps increased by 19.5 percent from 42 suicide casualties in 2008 to 52 casualties in 2009.

“Is it Post-Traumatic Sress Disorder? Combat Stress? A societal issue that new recruits are bringing with them when they enter boot camp?” said Cox. “We’re trying to figure out how to respond to it Marine Corps wide.”

The Marine Corps has introduced a new program intended to train non-commissioned officers on suicide prevention.

Through interactive peer-to-peer training, Marines can share thoughts or personal experiences as opposed to being on the receiving end of a one-sided conversation.

“If we help people solve their problems, the desire for suicide goes away,” said Cox.

There are collaborative programs available to service members and their families for any type of situation they may be facing.

Through the Military and Family Life Consultant Program, service members can sit down and talk about their issues confidentially and participate in counselling programs.

“Sometimes people are not comfortable speaking with a chaplain and in those cases people may seek help elsewhere,” said Lou Genzer, Family Readiness Officer.

For more information, log on to or call the Marine Corps Community Services Military One Source 24-hour hotline at 253-3100.