You are on page 1of 13

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

SUICIDE PREVENTION
PROGRAM
2008 Update

CDR Aaron D. Werbel, Ph.D.
Behavioral Health Affairs Officer
Headquarters, US Marine Corps
Manpower & Reserve Affairs
aaron.werbel@usmc.mil
703-784-9542

Updated 6 October 2008
MARINE CORPS ANNUAL SUICIDE RATE

20 *
US Civilian Rate
Rate (per 100,000).

15 USMC Average
(since DoD Data
Standardization)

10

5

0
0

03

05

07
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
00
01
02

04

06
99

19

19

19
19
19
19

20

20

20

20
19

19

19

20

20

20

20
1
CY

Year
Year # Rate

2 33 16.5
*
2006 25 12.9 US civilian rate is adjusted to match
2005 28 14.4 the demographics of the Marine
Updated March 2008 2004 34 17.5 Corps using age, race and gender.
MARINE CORPS MONTHLY SUICIDE ANALYSIS

Through September 2008
MARINE CORPS SUICIDE STATS

Through
December
CY07 CY06 CY05 CY04
Suicides
(suspected & 33 25 28 34
confirmed)

CY07 CY06 CY05 CY04 CY01-07 (avg)
Rate 16.5 12.9 14.4 17.5 14.9
(per 100,000)
USMC DEMOGRAPHIC CHALLENGE

• Youngest Service Members
62% of Marines are under 25
Compare to 41% for Navy
16% are teenagers

• Most Males
94% of Marines are male
Compare to 85% for Navy

• Most Single
56% single
Compare to 47% for Navy

• Marines have a high OpTempo
63% of current active duty and activated reserve Marines have
deployed into Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11

• Marines have weapons
Trained to use them

Updated April 2008
CY08 Suicide Demographics

Gender 29 Male 2 Female
25 Caucasian 2 African American
Race
3 Hispanic 1 Unknown
Age 25 (17-24) 4 (25-29) 2 (30-39)

Paygrade 19 (E1-E3) 9 (E4-E5) 3 (E6-E9)

Method 21 Gunshot 10 Hanging

Through September 2008
USMC Suicides with Deployment History
(confirmed and suspected)

Only rates are valid for annual
* Civilian Rate per 100,000
19.9 19.9 and cross Service comparisons
19.6 19.6
due to varying population sizes.
16.7 16.5
17.5 USMC Rate per 100,000
Number of The USMC suicide rate
Suicides is significantly below a
14.4
40 demographically similar
13.4
12.9
12.5 civilian rate.
35 Through Sept.

30 All final annual rates are
10
within expected range
25 15
19 of random fluctuations
16
around mean of 14.9.
20
15
30 20
15
16
23 8 12
10
8 6 No Deployment History
5 4
P ast Deployment History
7 6 5 In-Theater Suicides
4 4
0 2
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Marines with a deployment history are not over-represented among total Marine suicides.
*Last available civilian suicide rate information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rate adjusted for Marine demographics.
Data from 2001-2007 has been standardized in accord with DoD policy.
Source: HQMC (MRS-4) 2008Oct6
USMC Suicide Attempts

Marines with a deployment
160 history are not over-represented
among total Marine attempts.
140
Through Sept.
120
Average Number of Attempts = 100 Suicides
100
Attempts
80 151
60 112 114
99 103
89 82 85
40 80
31
20 34 33
23 30 23 26 28 25
0
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

The average ratio of suicide attempts to suicides is approximately 3:1. It ranges from 1.5:1 to 5.6:1. A 1987
study suggested a USMC ratio of 7:1 and civilian estimates range between an 8:1 and 25:1 ratio.

A DoD workgroup is meeting to assess and standardize suicide attempt data reporting across all Services.

2001-2007 data is standardized in accord with DoD policy. 2003-2007 data was obtained from START database. 2000-2002 data was manually entered.
Source: HQMC (MRS-4) 2008Oct6
USMC COLLABORATION / PARTNERSHIPS

• Department of Defense
– Suicide Prevention and Risk Reduction Committee - OASD(HA)
• Annual Military Suicide Prevention Conference
• Rate Calculation and Reporting Standardization Workgroup
• Suicide Tracking and Database Standardization Workgroup
• Suicide Nomenclature Standardization Workgroup

• Federal
– Federal Executive Partners
• HHS Leadership of 13 Federal Departments
• Suicide Prevention Workgroup DoD Representative and Chair

• International
– International Association of Suicide Prevention
• International Task Force on Defense and Police Forces, Chair

• Research
– Naval Health Research Center (NHRC)
– Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)

• Associations
– American Association of Suicidology
– American Psychological Association,
– Department of Veterans Health Affairs
– Centers for Disease Control
– Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SAMHSA)
CONTINUING AND NEW INITIATIVES

Newly Designed HQMC Suicide Prevention Website
www.usmc-mccs.org/suicideprevent
Toolboxes for leaders, Marine/family members, providers

Leaders Guide for Managing Marines in Distress
www.usmc-mccs.org/leadersguide
Pocket guide – Wave top information for the initial crisis
Available at www.militaryonesource.com
For all leaders from fire team to commander

Combat Operational Stress Control (COSC)
U.S. MarineCorps
Combat/ Ope perational
Stress Continuu
uumMododeel
Stress Mastery Reaction Injury Disorder

www.manpower.usmc.mil/cosc
• Unit Leader Bonding/Stability • Small Unit • Types: • Types:
and Unit Cohesion as an After-Action - Trauma - Anxiety
inoculation for combat stress Reviews - Fatigue - Depression
• Early Detection - Grief - Substance
• Simulate Stress & Build Abuse
Resiliency in Training • Combat Stress - Moral - PTSD
First Aid (self- conflict
• Reinforce Battlefield Ethics and buddy-aid) • Guide back

Marine Operational Stress Training (MOST) Program
• Forge “Mental Armor” for a • Treat like to duty
• Psychological any other
Battle-Hardened Mind First Aid • Medical
injury--
• MCMAP Mental Toughness • Rest and return without discharge
and Character Development to unit as needed
stigma
• Deployment cycle training • Use Medical, • Transition
(MOSST Program) Chaplain, & • Treat to VA
Early

To maintain a ready fighting force
OSCAR
• Strengthen the Homefront

Focus onPrevention: or Focus onTreatment:
BuildResiliency Stress Returnto DutyandWellness

To protect and restore the health of Marines and their family members
For all leaders from fire team to commander
CONTINUING AND NEW INITIATIVES

Operational Stress Control and Readiness (OSCAR)
Program to embed mental health professionals within operational units to increase
familiarity and reduce stigma attached with seeking care.
Providers organic to units who train, deploy and redeploy with their Marines.
For all Marines and leaders

Distance Learning Course
www.marinenet.usmc.mil
Interactive, graphic, concise training
Perfect for geographically separated Marines such as I&I and Reservists
For all Marines

Frontline Supervisors Training: Responding to Marines in Distress
Peer led suicide prevention training for junior leaders
Fills the gap between basic awareness and senior leadership briefs
For Non-Commissioned Officers

Annual Conferences
www.ha.osd.mil/2008mspc
2008 Annual DoD Suicide Prevention Conference w/Marine Corps Breakout
For all leaders and specifically suicide prevention program officers
CONTINUING AND NEW INITIATIVES

“Are You Listening?”
Training Recreation/Retail Program Staff as gatekeepers
Program was touted by OSD(HA) as leading the way in outside
the box training for community involvement in suicide prevention.
For MCCS Support Staff

Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk
Training in core competencies for all MCCS Counselors
Gold standard, evidence based training
For M&FS Counselors, Mental Health Providers and Chaplains

Installation Level Suicide Prevention Program Coordinators
One-stop contact for unit program officers
Semper Fit/Health Promotions Directors
For command and unit suicide prevention officers

Marketing for Stigma Reduction Marine Corps Order
Posters, Brochures Draft in Progress
USMC Continuing and New Initiatives

Ad Hoc Command Level Suicide Analysis
Recent examples include I, II and III MEF requests for review
Analysis includes local medical, chaplain, MCCS and Marine participants
Summary of findings and recommendations for local prevention
For commanders and suicide prevention officers

Study & Analysis (MCCDC) Detailed Program Review
Suicide prevention literature review
Propose data collection approach to account for various USMC activities and
agencies dealing with mental health, counseling, and support.
Analyze demographics statistically, to include: personal traits, activities
and exposures.
Analyze effectiveness of existing Programs.
For HQMC to inform program development