CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Before Marines and sailors of II Marine Expeditionary Force head home for the holidays, the unit’s leadership took time to remind their Marines and sailors to remain vigilant and recognize the signs one of their fellow service members may be in trouble and how to get them help if they need it.
At recent professional military education on suicide awareness and prevention hosted by II MEF’s 2nd Marine Logistics Group, guest speaker U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Clifford W. Bauman spoke about his own struggles and experiences in hopes they might better understand the personal battles a service member may typically face, especially through the holidays.
“I want service members who listen to my brief to take away that seeking out mental health will not hurt your military career but, most of all, for them to get the help that they need because they are worth it,” said Bauman. “Going to counseling did not make me a weaker soldier, or a lesser person, it made me a stronger soldier and a better person.”
During the brief, Marines and sailors were taught to look for key signs common in distressed service members and how to help when they recognize them. Suicide awareness and prevention education have reduced the rates of suicide attempts and successful suicide since 2012.
“The biggest asset the DOD has to combat suicide is Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen like me who tell their story like I have. There are more out there, let’s give them a voice to express their personal success stories,” said Bauman. “It feels good to tell fellow service members my story, and at times it is hard on me. However, whatever pain it causes me is worth it if I can keep one service member from going down the same path as I did.”
For more information about suicide prevention, resources include suicidepreventionlifeline.org, dstressline.com, militaryonesource.mil, on-base Military and Family Life Counselors and unit chaplains.