Five Marine Corps installations in the southwestern United States will begin a Suicide Prevention Program where leaders at all levels will facilitate access to prevention, counseling, treatment programs and services to any service member the command believes is at risk to themselves or others.
According to Marine Corps Installations-West, Camp Pendleton Order 1700.1, suicides and incidents of suicidal behavior and ideation can significantly degrade a unit's morale and effectiveness.
The order states through continual education and training, commands can empower leadership and employ an effective suicide-awareness program.
Per the order, region commanders will ensure all Marines, sailors, and government employees receive education and training for suicide awareness and prevention by a Marine appointed to fulfill duties as the unit Suicide Prevention Program Officer.
The order also says that due to the current Marine Corps dynamics, Marines and sailors throughout the region are at an increased suicide risk, but almost all of this stress can be dealt with and resolved with positive leadership and personal attention from their military and civilian supervisors.
The SPPO will educate all members of his or her command about member duties and responsibilities to help Marines and sailors, and initiate measures to halt the loss of lives by suicide.
Unit commanders will implement, establish and execute a base wide Suicide Prevention Program to ensure awareness, education and prevention of suicides.
Relationship problems, alcohol and drug abuse, addictions, financial shortcomings and depression left untreated or unresolved can lead to suicide. The Suicide Prevention Program will emphasize the importance of early identification and intervention of problems that detract from personal and unit readiness.
The program includes the following elements: awareness education and health promotion, life skills training, leadership training, crisis intervention and risk management, counseling and treatment, Postvention Services, casualty reporting and trend analysis and inspections.
The order states all personnel in leadership positions must counsel their Marines and sailors on a regular basis, identify potential problems and be proactive, in solving them. Concerned leadership at all levels will have a major impact on the war on suicide and incidents of suicidal behavior.
For more information on the order refer to MCIWESTO 1700.1