Honing healthy habits helps heroes
By Cpl. Christopher Duncan
| Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | November 02, 2012
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marine & Family Programs hosted their 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center, Oct. 25. Guest speakers shared personal experiences and provided information on various subjects to promote healthy development.
This conference has served over 14,000 Marines and their families across the U.S. and focuses on conveying the warning signs of combat stress, family violence, substance addiction, depression and suicide with intent to afford leadership the opportunity to recognize and respond to Marines and their family members that are in need of support.
“The HHFs’ program helps us move in a positive direction by educating our young leaders in the areas of suicide, sexual assault, hazing and safety,” said Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green, sergeant major for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. “In the Marine Corps we stress knowing yourself and seeking self improvement, and this is a time where we want to stop, take a look at ourselves and recommit to talking to someone if we have problems and reaching out to those who may need help.”
While Pamela Iles, a retired Orange County superior court judge, was on the bench, she started to see more and more service members in my court room. Some were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and some were potential suicide victims.
“I decided, not long after, that I wanted to start a program that would help them learn better coping skills and make services available that would provide support to prevent such incidents from occurring,” said Iles.
“We work with Marine and Family Programs to find out what issues they want addressed and what’s relevant to their base,” Cathy Mccarrell, the executive director of the HHF program. “When we host the event they bring the counseling staff and the resources, and we provide guest speakers who share their knowledge and expertise with the attendants.”
“We target leaders because they can receive the information and share it with the Marines and sailors in their command,” said Iles. “I don’t want them in the courtrooms. They shouldn’t be there and since a lot of these issues are judgment driven, if we can equip them with the proper tools, we can effectively prevent these incidents before they occur.”
Green said, “My heart pours out to the HHF who have devoted their time and resources to go all around the Marine Corps to provide a service to those who have a need.”