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.<br /> <br /> With the demands of the job as well as the family, financial and personal responsibilities every individual has, dealing with issues can become stressful.<br /> <br /> For a new Marine, finding a way to cope can be especially overwhelming, and for few, thoughts of suicide may occur.<br /> <br /> “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.<br /> <br /> The suicide rate among the Marine Corps increased by 19.5 percent from 42 suicide casualties in 2008 to 52 casualties in 2009.<br /> <br /> “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.”<br /> <br /> The Marine Corps has introduced a new program intended to train non-commissioned officers on suicide prevention.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> “If we help people solve their problems, the desire for suicide goes away,” said Cox.<br /> <br /> There are collaborative programs available to service members and their families for any type of situation they may be facing.<br /> <br /> Through the Military and Family Life Consultant Program, service members can sit down and talk about their issues confidentially and participate in counselling programs.<br /> <br /> “Sometimes people are not comfortable speaking with a chaplain and in those cases people may seek help elsewhere,” said Lou Genzer, Family Readiness Officer.<br /> <br /> For more information, log on to www.usmc-mccs.org/suicideprevent or call the Marine Corps Community Services Military One Source 24-hour hotline at 253-3100.