The USMC focus on Suicide Prevention Program (SPP) is multi-faceted and incorporates various programs aimed at holistic well-being for our Marines and their Families. The Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) SPP mission is to reduce deaths by suicide. The SPP provides resources to help Marines and their Families navigate through the myriad of Marine Corps Community Service (MCCS) programs to achieve healthy outcomes when faced with the stressors of life to include a wide array of HQ and garrison based programs; skilled support staff and coordinators; fitness, prevention and re-integration assistance, education, as well as off-base assistance.

The HQMC SPP actively collaborates with the Department of Defense (DoD) Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO), sister Services, and internal and external stakeholders aimed at the prevention of suicide. The HQMC SPP participated and applied lessons learned from the DoD-wide Suicide Death Review Pilot of military demographics, substance use history, biopsychosocial stressors, physical and psychiatric health care services utilization, data quality. The HQMC participates in the DoD Suicide Prevention General Officer Steering Committee (SPGOSC) which is an advisory body facilitating the review, assessment, integration, standardization, and implementation of suicide prevention policies and programs. HQMC SPP participants in the DoD Suicide Prevention and Risk Reduction Committee (SPARRC) which includes Service Prevention Program Managers (SPPMs), to discuss development and coordination of suicide prevention policies, activities, and share best practices.

The HQMC SPP coordinates and applies innovations resulting from the DoD Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC). The DoD MSRC funds suicide prevention research, information management and scientific communications across the DoD. In collaboration with the Department of Health Affairs Military Suicide Intervention Working Group the HQMC SPP coordinates standardization, integration, and oversight of suicide-related clinical care and reporting across the Military Health System (MHS).

Marine and Family, Health Services, and the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery collaborate to monitor, review, and disseminate information that directly affects the psychological needs meetings between local MCCS installation Directors of Behavioral Health, Military Treatment Facilities Directors of Mental Health, and Embedded Mental Health providers.

Marines are afforded several programs and services developed by the HQMC to address the gambit of “whole being wellness”. The collaborative efforts of these programs address mental, physical, and financial well-being; Family and domestic relationships, and achieve a holistic approach to a strong Marine Corps.  Following are programs more specifically aimed at suicide prevention. 

  • Force Protection Counsel (FPC) collaborates amongst garrison stakeholders to conduct risk assessment and risk management mitigation strategies for Marines who are potentially exhibiting risky behaviors or life circumstances.
  • The Community Counseling Program (CCP) incorporates counseling that focusses on effective stress management.

The Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) has oversight for the management and execution of the Universal Marine Awareness and Prevention Integrated Training (UMAPIT) and Operational Stress Control and Readiness (OSCAR).  The OSCAR program extenders are medical staff skilled in prevention services, chaplains, corpsman, and other professionals who “extend” suicide prevention capabilities. The Marine Intercept Program (MIP) is another resource for care management, coordinated with command, to reduce risk. MIP offers and tracks regular well-being contacts for a minimum of 90 days, ongoing suicide risk assessments, and developing/updating personal safety plans.

The Annual Death by Suicide Review Board (DSRB) reviews all available administrative records, medical records, and event reports to inform suicide prevention strategies, lessons learned and apply targeted prevention initiatives.  

The Lethal Means Restriction is a voluntary service which allows Marines and their Families the use of gun locks and safe storage methods in cases where commanders or mental healthcare professionals have reasonable grounds to believe a Marine is at risk for harm to self or others.

As an additional benefit, Garrisons are encouraged to develop Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with community-based assets to ensure seamless care systems between military and non-military medical providers.

The focus of the DoD and HQMC programs is prevention, treatment, and recovery through the combined efforts of applicable stakeholders. Access to the above resources and other similar services is available via the HQMC website, https://usmc-mccs.org,  Military One Source, 800-342-9647, www.militaryonesource.mil, Marine DSTRESS 877-476-7734 or https://usmc-mccs.org/services/support/dstress-line