Marine Corps remains focused on preventing suicides, commandant says

From Stars and Stripes

In spite of all the suicide-prevention programs in place, military leaders expect 2012 to be another “tough year” as the trend of suicides in the military looks bleak, Reuters quoted Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos.

“Even with the attention of the leadership, I think all the services are feeling it,” Amos told Reuters after he delivered a speech to journalists Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “This year … is going to be a tough year for all the services.”

Programs and countermeasures to reduce suicides in the Marine Corps alone have decreased the number from a record high of 52 in 2009 to 32 in 2011, Reuters reported.

In July, 38 soldiers, including 26 active-duty troops, are believed to have killed themselves, the Army recently reported, setting what appears to be a grim record as the military struggles to address increasing numbers of suicides.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The Navy, for example, is unveiling a new concept to be explored each week of September, including “building resilience, navigating stress, encouraging bystander intervention to A-C-T (Ask, Care, Treat) and reducing barriers for seeking support through counseling,” a Navy statement said Tuesday.

Pentagon leaders made suicide prevention a top priority in recent years, Reutersreported, including deploying behavioral healthcare workers to warzones and trying to reduce the stigma associated with mental health treatment.

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