CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA --
CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA – U.S. Marines attended a Marine Corps Association Professional Leaders Seminar on Suicide Awareness and Prevention at The Palms on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, Sept. 27, 2023.
Readiness extends beyond preparing for foreign adversaries; it begins within the hearts and minds of each Marine. The seminar was held to discuss the topic of suicide, and to share suicide prevention resources to an overlooked line of defense—the key leaders, specifically staff noncommissioned officers and noncommissioned officers. They are entrusted with the well-being of their subordinates and the relentless fight against suicide.
The seminar encompassed case studies, group deliberations, and various resource channels that enabled leaders to have renewed conversations about their roles and explore ways they could positively impact individual Marines.
“It enables us to think in a different way about suicidal behavior and mental health,” said U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Katelin Mazzone, a communications chief with Marine Air Control Squadron 4, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. “A lot of it comes down to just being a human being, establishing rapport, and developing good relationships with our Marines up and down the chain of command."
According to an article published by Marine Times, suicide was the leading cause of death for Marines in 2022, with 55 active duty Marines and eight Marine reservists losing their lives.
“We have to work together, to try and figure this out together,” said Sgt. Maj. Carlos A. Ruiz, the 20th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. “This is to the leadership: we talk about the Marine Corps being a family – it can’t be just a talking point.”
This is the third seminar on Suicide Awareness and Prevention hosted by the MCA this year. Their first two were held on Marine Corps Bases Camp Pendleton and Quantico, covering Marine Corps’ three biggest areas of operation.
“It is the topic force commanders want to center on,” said retired U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. Charles G. Chiarotti, the President and CEO of the Marine Corps Association. “Our role in all of this is to enable Marines to develop their professional education and we see education on force preservation as a means to do that.”
If you are a service member stationed in Japan and require someone to talk to, please don't hesitate to contact the Duty Chaplain at 090-6861-4730, Rotational Military and Family Life Counseling at 080-3479-7772, Marine Corps Community Service Behavioral Health, or the 988 Suicide Crisis Lifeline at 098-970-8255.