Marine Corps Tries to Cope with Rising Suicide Rate

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

From awarding medals to offering expanded stress-related training and counseling, the U.S. Marine Corps is seeking to rid its distinction as the military branch with the highest suicide rate. Whereas the U.S. Army is averaging 21.7 suicides per 100,000 soldiers, the Marines are at 24. In 2009, the Corps lost more troops to suicide than combat in Afghanistan. As recently as 2006, the Marine Corps suicide rate was only 12.9.

To encourage Marines to actively help others struggling with suicidal tendencies, the service awarded Lance Corporal Jonathan Burson the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for coming to the aid of another Marine found crying in a mess hall in Afghanistan who wanted to kill himself.
Other methods being employed by the Corps to bring down the suicide rate include exposing new recruits to “hyper-realistic combat training to help inoculate troops against post-traumatic stress disorder,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. There is also a new Combat & Operational Stress Control Center in San Diego, as well as a new color-coded system so Marines can better understand their stress levels.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Suicide the Unseen Enemy for Marines (by Gretel C. Kovach, San Diego Union-Tribune)


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