Take the steps to put your safety first.
Reducing access to lethal means (things used such as substances, weapons, or actions capable of causing death) of suicide and self-harm is key if you are having thoughts of suicide. Properly storing and practicing lethal means safety are steps you can take to help save lives. Many suicides and suicide attempts happen during a short-term crisis. These practices put distance (time and space) between someone considering suicide or self-harm, while potentially saving a life.
Lethal means safety practices:
Marine Corps Community Services is here to help.
The USMC focus on suicide prevention is multi-faceted and incorporates programs aimed at holistic well-being for our Marines and their Families. Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) programs and off-base assistance are available to connect Marines and their families to help them achieve healthy outcomes when faced with the stressors of life.
Know the signs.
Some behaviors may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. Some examples include:
Start the conversation.
Trust your instincts and talk to your loved one/friend if you think they may be having thoughts of suicide. Mention the warning signs that prompted you to talk to them, stay calm, and let them know you are there to help.
When talking to someone:
If someone you know exhibits any of the signs to harm themselves, seek help by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 for the Military Crisis Line.
There are also other resources available for you, your fellow Marines, or family members. Check out:
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 for the Military Crisis Line to talk to someone who can help immediately, or contact your Chaplain. It is normal to question yourself and your ability to help. The thought of someone wanting to die can leave you feeling helpless, lost, and even guilty. So what can you do to help? The willingness to have the hard conversations is key to assisting our Marines and getting help so they can continue to thrive.
The Marine Corps Leadership has a critical role in educating Marines and their families about suicide prevention, mental wellness, and how to access services that are available to help Marines and their families navigate through the stressors of life.
Deaths by suicide and other non-fatal suicide-related events often occur in association with stressors related to relationships, work, pending disciplinary actions, and illness such as depression, and in association with periods of transition in duty status and between duty stations.
Command Leadership Responsibilities
Defense Suicide Prevention Program Policy DoD Instruction 6490.16 establishes comprehensive enterprise-wide policy on suicide prevention. It assigns responsibilities and establishes procedures for the oversight and reporting of the Defense Suicide Prevention Program.
MCO 1720.2A mandates that commanders ensure the policies stated in the order are used in creating, establishing, maintaining, and reinforcing local command suicide prevention programs and procedures.
To ensure a comprehensive and appropriate response, a Commander’s Smart Pack is available for leaders.
What is the Military Crisis Line?
The Military Crisis Line is a free and confidential resource available 24/7/365. Service members, including members of the National Guard and Reserves, along with their loved ones can:
U.S. Service members in Europe may now also receive free, confidential support through the recently-launched European Military Crisis Line. Callers in Europe may dial 00800-1273- 8255 or DSN 118 to receive crisis support from responders at the Military Crisis Line in the U.S. Toll-free service may not be available through all carriers or in all countries.
Know the signs.
Some behaviors may help you determine if one of your Marines is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. Some indicators include: