Marines with 8th Communication Battalion took a different approach to suicide awareness training by participating in a special readiness evolution Aug. 3.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. David L. Duprey, a chaplain with Marine Raider Support Group, led the interaction, focusing on maintaining operational readiness throughout the unit. The program was designed to engage the audience in building a series of tools used in suicide prevention and intervention.
"When I was 33 and my brother was 36, my brother, John ended his life by suicide," said Duprey. "That experience gives me fuel every single day to do this."
It can be hard to talk about suicide but necessary in order to understand the reasons behind it, which is why you have to ask the difficult questions, said Duprey.
"You can make the difference in the life of someone if you take action," said Duprey. "If you can sort out the layers with another human being it teaches us when to refer and when to act."
The chaplain interacted with the Marines and asked questions, and gave a visual representation using seven Marines to represent issues that cause suicide.
"The lessons taught during the speech are definitely something that has to be addressed to further mitigate the chances of suicide," said Lance Cpl. Philipp G. Urrizaa, a wireman with the unit. "His message was (easy to understand) and got to the point."
The goal of the suicide prevention strategy is to create a suicide safe community, where members at all levels of the command recognize they have an informal "fire team" for which they are directly responsible.
Raising that level of responsibility and awareness and equipping fire team members with skills for intervention allows them to take action where they see signs` of suicide risk. In all cases of military to military intervention, members are taught to refer cases of active suicide risk to chaplains and medical care.