Taking care of Marines and their families is a key element of overall readiness and combat effectiveness. The adage “we recruit Marines, we retain families” remains as true today as ever. Our comprehensive package of services seeks the holistic fitness and readiness of our Marines and families – body, mind, spirit, and social. This approach focuses on readiness, resilience, and recovery of the whole person, not just the physical body. We must ensure that our Marines are prepared to be able to continually adapt to the changing circumstances of our operational tempo and missions, successfully reintegrate post deployment, and maintain their readiness to deploy again.
U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, center, commander, Marine Corps Installations Command, and his wife, Mary Coglianese, enter the Community Counseling Center during their visit on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (MCB CAMLEJ), N.C., Nov. 16, 2017. Coglianese visited MCB CAMLEJ to develop a better understanding of the issues and circumstances Marine Corps Installations East MCB CAMLEJ face. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Judith L. Harter)
Behavioral Health Program
The Behavioral Health Program is an integrated service delivery model that coordinates the efforts and resources of all behavioral health elements, including Community Counseling, Family Advocacy, Substance Abuse, and Suicide Prevention programs.
These programs are available at each installation and include free confidential services offered by licensed, credentialed professionals. The programs allow for rapid identification of resources and assistance to promote resilience of Marines and their families. The Marine Corps’ holistic approach to behavioral health allows us to address the many complex factors that can contribute to behavioral health issues. Our prevention-focused behavioral health focus ensures that Marines possess the skills to identify, refer, and seek help for behavioral health issues, for themselves and to help others. This promotes Marine Total Fitness.
Our Behavioral Health Programs provides continuous access to quality behavioral healthcare, prevention services, and other support services before, during, and after a crisis. Beyond investment in specific programs and on-base community support capacity, the Behavioral Health Program focuses on providing tools for unit commanders’ prevention efforts. For example, our DSTRESS line is a 24/7/365, “Marine-to-Marine” call center providing phone, chat, and video-telephone capability for anonymous, non-medical, short-term, solution-focused counseling to help Marines and their families cope with the challenges of life in the Corps. Marines can call 1-877-476-7734 to receive information and assistance, usually from a veteran Marine, former Navy Corpsman, Marine spouse, or behavioral health specialist trained in Marine culture.
One of the highest priorities of our behavioral health program is suicide prevention. Preventing suicide has proven to be a very challenging task given the complex nature of the problem. We are constantly evolving and assessing our programs to leverage best practices.
A focus of our suicide prevention efforts is the Marine Intercept Program (MIP). It is a combined effort between service members, commanders, installation Community Counseling Programs, and Headquarters Marine Corps. MIP provides care coordination, regular telephone check-ins, and suicide assessment for Marines and attached Sailors with a reported suicidal ideation or suicide attempt. MIP is a targeted intervention for Marines identified at increased risk for suicide. Services include risk assessment, safety planning, and care coordination. In addition, caring contacts are made after an event for a minimum of 90 days. The vast majority of Marines who are identified with suicide ideations or an attempt and who are referred to MIP, accept their services. When they do, they access care faster, miss fewer appointments, and engage in specialty care at higher rates.
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response
The Marine Corps does not tolerate sexual assault, and our commitment to combatting sexual assault is steadfast and unrelenting. Sexual assault erodes the trust between Marines and undermines our warfighting mission. Our continued focus on victim care and services ensure that we provide quality and timely support for our Marines. Our emphasis on prevention supports our goal of reducing the crime of sexual assault from our Corps. Our Sexual Assault Prevention and Response efforts serve to uphold Marine Corps traditions and values.
The prevention of sexual assault is our primary effort and it begins when an individual walks into a recruiter’s office and continues throughout a Marine’s career. From peer-to-peer interaction at the unit level, to engaged leadership at the highest levels of command, we are actively working to raise awareness and advocate for healthy relationships and to eliminate barriers to reporting a sexual assault incident. Commander involvement and constructive dialogue will continue to be our greatest asset as we provide Marines with confidence that their command will protect them and respond properly when a sexual assault occurs. Engaged leadership, at all levels, remains the key to changing the culture that permits sexual assault in our ranks. With our collective efforts, we will ensure every Marine knows it is his and her duty to step up and step in to stop sexual assault.
Family Care Programs
Our Child & Youth, Exceptional Family Member, and School Liaison programs provide services to care for, strengthen and inform military families. These programs focus on the resiliency, health, education, and well-being of our Corps’ children from birth to age 18.
The Child & Youth Program provides quality, safe, and affordable child care that promotes physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. Services may be located on or off the installation and respond to the full day, part day, and hourly needs of our families.
The Exceptional Family Member Program improves the quality of life of families that support a member with special needs by helping them gain access to medical, educational, and financial services.
The School Liaison Program serves as the link between commanders, communities, schools, and families of military children in order to support school age children with relocations, life transitions, and academic success. These family care services promote family resilience and readiness and allow Marines to focus on the mission.