Marine leaders at the Pentagon have issued a preemptive "call to action" to stem suicides during the holiday season.

The overall number of suicides in the Marine Corps has fallen after years of aggressively combating the problem through the introduction of new programs targeting ranks from junior enlisted to senior officers.

The new MARADMIN serves as a reminder of current resources available to those who are struggling as well as the duty of Marines and their commanders to watch out for each other.

"We should always reinforce this message, particularly through the holiday season," the message states. it says.

A series of new programs focusing on early bystander intervention that taught Marines to look for warning signs among fellow troops helped to steadily lowered the rate until it was below the average civilian suicide rate.

"The Corps has invested in many programs to take care of our people and to help us eliminate suicides," the message states. "The Marine Intercept Program, Force Preservation Councils, Marine Family Life Counselors, On-line Support and various hotlines such as DSTRESS (1-877-476-7734) are always close at hand." according to the MARADMIN.

Chaplains are also singled out as a potential resource. The message goes on to stresses the importance of continued suicide awareness training to provide Marines, including small unit leaders, with the skills to "identify stress at early manifestations."

Marine officials were not immediately available to answer questions from Marine Corps Times about the decision to tie the announcement to the holiday season.

The holiday season is a highly stressful time for many, for sure. But, the Centers Ffor Disease Control and Prevention reports that the annual spike in holiday season suicides is an often repeated myth.

"CDC's National Center for Health Statistics reports that the suicide rate is, in fact, the lowest in December," according to the agency's CDC's website. "The rate peaks in the spring and the fall. This pattern has not changed in recent years."

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