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Senior leaders tasked with suicide prevention training

By Lance Cpl. Laura Cardoso | | April 21, 2011

According to a Marine Administrative Message released April 12, 2011, senior leaders are next in line to complete mandatory suicide prevention training.

MarAdmin 228/11 requires all Marines and sailors E-6 through E-9, as well as officers, to complete the new Officer and Staff Noncommissioned Officer “Never Leave A Marine Behind” Suicide Prevention Training Implementation Plan before December 31, 2011.

“It’s the senior leadership’s role to recognize what their Marines’ behavior reflects,” said Staff Sgt. Ramon Inzunza, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron ground operations training chief, “That way, we’re able to pull them to the side and ask if everything is okay with them.”

In 2010, 37 Marines committed suicide, the third highest total since 2001 – with 173 suicide attempts – reported the Corps’ suicide prevention program manager.

“A lot of times we lose track of what our Marines are going through,” said Inzunza. “As Marines they get caught up with day-to-day mission accomplishments and other issues at home or with family, but we expect them to be OK.”

The classes, similar to the existing NCO and junior Marine suicide prevention course, are designed to complement programs already in place at the battalion or squadron level. They were developed by Manpower and Reserve Affairs after a 2010 safety board.

Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28, as well as 5th Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, were the first to test the course in February and provide feedback, ensuring both the staff NCO and the officer courses were effective.

Testing included a power point presentation with videos and a facilitator’s guide for discussion topics. The entire course is designed to be a guided discussion with no more than 30 participants per session led by a senior Marine.

Yuma Marines can expect word from their ground training sections on when and where classes will be held in the near future.

“A MarAdmin shouldn’t dictate our involvement with our Marines,” said Inzunza. “That should come from every day conversation. As staff NCOs and officers we should already be doing that. It shouldn’t be another check in the box.”

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