HQMC (MR), QUANTICO, Va. - The United States Marine Corps Never Leave a Marine Behind - Non Commissioned Officers (NCO) Suicide Prevention Training was selected as Best of Show in the 17th Annual National HealthInformation Awards competition.
The competition is hosted by the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC), a nationwide clearinghouse for consumer health information programs and materials. The NCO suicide prevention training course competed against over 1,000 other entries and was judged by a panel of health information experts.
According to Col. Grant Olbrich, head of the Suicide Prevention program, "this recognition is confirmation that we are on the right track with our new training initiatives, but there is a lot of work still to be done. The course will be joined this year by a similar course designed for junior Marines, and will be followed early next year by courses designed for staff NCOs and officers."
Olbrich added that the NCO course encourages help-seeking behavior, empowers NCOs to assist troubled Marines, and raises awareness into the causes, warning signs, and impact of Marine suicide.
The Marine Corps Suicide Prevention Program is only one of many focused on preventing suicide. Marines or families in distress can also seek help from chaplains, counselors, Military OneSource, national suicide prevention hotlines, unit medical personnel, and their chain of command.
The Marine Corps has also launched the "DSTRESS Line"-a 'by Marine, for Marine" confidential 24/7 counseling and referral service currently being tested in the western U.S..
"It's meant for active duty Marines, Reservists, retired Marines, and all of those veteran Marines who proudly served in the Corps. The call center is manned with veteran Marines and Fleet Marine Force Corpsmen, and trained clinical counselors who understand the differencebetween being a "Marine" and being a "Service member,"," Olbrich said. "The pilot is scheduled to continue for the rest of this year, and then we plan to expand it throughout the United States and overseas early next year."
Encouraging help-seeking behavior in Marines is key to reversing the current trend in suicides.
"We all must understand that getting help for Marines in distress is a duty, not an option, and it's consistent with our Marine Corps ethos and values. We're truly Semper Fidelis when we're taking care of ourselves and our buddies regardless of the type of injury being faced at the time. It's bad behavior that ruins friendships and careers-not seeking help. Keeping ourselves healthy, both physically and mentally helps maintain force preservation and mission readiness, and that's our goal in the Suicide Prevention Program," Olbrich concluded.
For more information on the Marine Corps Suicide Prevention program go to www.usmc-mccs.org/suicideprevent. To request free behavioral health educational materials such as brochures, wallet cards, posters, workbooks, Quick Series and DVDs go to www.bhin.usmc-mccs.org.