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Corps announces NCO suicide prevention course plan

16 Jul 2009 | Cpl. Laura A. Mapes

Every noncommissioned officer in the Marine Corps will receive additional training in suicide prevention, according to Marine Administrative Message 404/09, released July 2, 2009.

Suicide rates in the military are at a 10-year high, with the Army and the Marine Corps leading in suicide deaths. In 2008, the Marine Corps had 41 confirmed suicides and approximately 150 suicide attempts, according to Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

The first master-level trainers will completed a course in Quantico, Va., to become suicide prevention instructors, July 17, 2009.

Teams of two sergeants and one staff NCO from major Marine Corps commands including one from Camp Pendleton, Calif., will attend the initial train-the-trainer course in Quantico.

Within five weeks of completing the course, these teams will train two sergeant instructors from each unit in their region down to the squadron and battalion level.

Camp Pendleton is scheduled to hold the first West Coast train-the-trainer class July 30, 2009, through Aug. 1, 2009. Additional classes will be held until two NCOs from each unit have been trained who will then give the course to all the NCOs in their individual units.

Sergeant instructors must have at least a year left on station following the training course to attend.

The Corps already directed additional suicide prevention training for all Marines in March in response to 2008’s rise in suicides.

An NCO suicide prevention course was directed in November 2008 by the Executive Safety Board. Once developed, the course was tested by Marine Forces Pacific, Marine Forces Command and Manpower and Reserve Affairs in June.

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