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Health promotion program focuses on suicide prevention

Throughout the month of May, Camp Pendleton’s Health Promotions Department is focusing its Mental Health Month campaign on the prevention and awareness of an important topic to the military: suicide.

In 2009, the Marine Corps reported the highest suicide rate throughout the military with 24 suicides per 100,000, according to the Marine Corps Suicide Prevention Program.

Suicide and depression can affect any Marine, regardless of age, rank, race, sex, economic status or deployment history, said Sabrina Gibson, health promotion educator, Semper Fit Division, Marine Corps Community Services.

“Feeling down, angry or anxious can be a response to a variety of things, said Gibson. When these feelings become disturbing, interfere with daily life, and/or linger for weeks or months, they may signal a problem that requires professional assistance.”

Overwhelming emotions begin to affect a service member’s daily life, affecting the readiness that is required by all Marines.

To help Marines be ready, MCCS provides resources and outlets for Marines to use to be in a state of wellness.

Base’s Health Promotion Department addresses the common components that constitutes “wellness,” which includes social, vocational, intellectual, environmental, spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Each component has to reach a level of satisfaction that will help reduce stress which could trigger depression, said Gibson.

“Getting involved in community activities, seeking growth by learning a new skill at work, researching a topic you have an interest in and committing to a workout plan, are all examples of what falls under wellness,” Gibson added.

Service members who are dealing with high levels of stress, or notice one of their comrades showing signs of distress or depression, there are on the many options available for help or education on suicide prevention.

For more information about mental and physical health, visit one of the three Health Promotions Centers on base, located at the Paige Fieldhouse, 53 Area Fitness Center and the 21 Area Single Marine Program Center.

For those are seeking help, visit your unit chaplain, call Military OneSource at (800) 869-0278, or the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE.

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