Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune --
Approximately 20 Marines and sailors with 2nd Marine
Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, completed a week-long Applied
Suicide Intervention Skills Training course aboard Marine Corps Base Camp
Lejeune, North Carolina, Sept. 14-18, 2015.
The course showed the Marines and sailors how they can not
only learn how to properly identify and intervene with a person who are having
suicidal thoughts, but how they can instruct others to do the same.
“ASIST is the most effective suicide intervention training
in the world,” said Lt. Cmdr. Richard Smothers, the command chaplain of 2nd
Supply Battalion. “It’s effective for
several reasons: It is accessible and anyone can be trained to successfully
intervene when someone is at risk for suicide.”
These Marines and sailors spent the first two days learning about
indicators that could lead them to believe someone is at risk of committing
suicide. They also spent time reviewing
speech techniques and how to properly step in and assist someone.
“The access units now have to these trained service members
is golden,” Smothers said. “If we think
about readiness in the fighting force alone, now we have individuals who are
properly trained to keep our Marines, sailors and their family members safer
against the risk for suicide.”
This training can not only help individual people un-affiliated
with the military, but it can keep a Marine alive and help them find the right
treatment that will keep America’s fighting force strong.
“I immediately think of readiness when [ASIST] comes to
mind,” Smothers said. “As with personnel readiness, we find when Marines and
sailors are trained well, they fight well and serve well. When we give them the skills in this
workshop, they are more ready, able and willing to engage a friend, family
member, co-worker or anyone at risk for suicide.”
Smothers also said that having service members in military
units who can assist individuals with suicidal thoughts gives the unit a faster
response to these crises, and having more people with this training around
gives a much better chance for someone to identify a possible problem and step in
Service members were brought out of their comfort zone when
it comes to talking to someone with suicidal ideations.
“Having experience in [dealing with a suicidal person] I
still learned tools that I could use with people that may be contemplating
suicide,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Clark, a corpsman with 2nd
The tools taught to these service members are designed to
better assist them in dealing with a suicidal subject.
“I have been a first responder and a care-giver for people
with suicidal ideations,” Clark said. “I
felt like I was struggling to help them and simply doing the best I could; now
I feel better prepared to handle a situation.”
After the class the service members are not only trained in
suicide intervention, but can now instruct others in the ASIST program.
“They did great,” Smothers said. “They worked hard; there were a couple of
nights when we were here until almost 9 p.m., but there was never a
complaint. They challenged each other
and really put forth the effort. I feel
it’s going to pay off in the months or years to come.”