Opinions on Suicide and Perceived Barriers to Care in a Sample of United States Marine Non-Commissioned Officers: Implications for Future Frontline Supervisors' Suicide Prevention Training Programs
Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States
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Suicide remains a significant public health problem within the Department of Defense and within the United States Marine Corps USMC. To date ,there is limited scientific evidence for the efficacy of current suicide prevention programs, which appear to focus on a one-size-fits-all approach. What remains unknown is whether culturally appropriate suicide training programs need to be tailored to the unique needs of specific subgroups within the military. Purpose The broad objectives of the study were threefold 1 to gain a better understanding of the most frequently observed stressors in distressed Marines and the most frequently used resources for risk mitigation 2 to generate lessons learned for the best adaptation of suicide prevention training programs in the USMC to the unique needs of Non-Commissioned Officers NCOs based on their demographics, suicide exposure, opinions about suicide, and perceived barriers to care and 3 to compare Air, Ground, and Logistics Marines on opinions about suicide and perceived barriers to care. Methods Baseline data i.e., pre-training from a convenience sample of 1758 Marine NCOs, collected as part of an evaluation study on the Never Leave a Marine Behind suicide prevention program 2009-2010 was used for the analyses in this cross-sectional study. Results The most frequently encountered distress-related issues were relationships, work problems, finances, and alcohol-related. Mental health resources appear to be under-utilized an overreliance on the chain of command as a referral source is evident. Females NCOs and those with higher education showed a greater knowledge of but less accepting opinions of suicide. Those with prior exposure to suicide within their military unit were significantly more likely to view suicide as a result of emotional perturbation. Contrary to expectations, Marine NCOs with higher education and prior exposure to suicide were more likely to perceive general barriers to care.