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Marines, sailors and civilian workers with 2nd Marine Logistics Group attended a week-long Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training course, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept. 14-18, 2015. ASIST is a five-day workshop where candidates learn how to appropriately interact with someone who is having suicidal thoughts and also become instructors on how to teach the class to other service members in their units. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Michael Dye/released) 

Photo by Cpl. Michael Dye

2nd MLG trains suicide intervention to help maintain readiness

23 Sep 2015 | Cpl. Michael Dye 2nd Marine Logistics Group

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 to help.

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 Medical Battalion. 

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.”

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