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Use R.A.C.E. Protocol to Help Prevent Suicide

One of the keys to suicide prevention is timely intervention using techniques like R.A.C.E. (Recognize, Ask, Care, Escort). 

Recognize distress in your Marine or Sailor:

  • Note changes in personality, emotions, or behavior.
  • Note withdrawal from co-workers, friends, and family.
  • Note changes in eating and sleeping patterns.

Ask your Marine or Sailor:

  • Calmly ask about the distress you observed.
  • If necessary, do not hesitate to ask the question directly: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”

Don’t necessarily believe the first answer someone gives you when you ask if the individual is suicidal. Keep checking in with the person, and if you remain concerned, skip to Escort (below).

Care for your Marine or Sailor:

  • Actively listen, do not judge.
  • Peacefully control the situation; do not use force; keep everyone safe.

If you are unsure about the person’s state of mind, contact your chain of command, chaplain, medical officer, Operational Stress Control and Readiness (OSCAR) Team member, Military and Family Life Counselor (MFLC), or Community Counseling Program (CCP).

Escort your Marine or Sailor:

  • Never leave your Marine or Sailor alone.
  • If you can do so safely, remove any lethal means that you see (such as weapons or stockpiled pills), and keep the items away from the person.
  • If someone expresses suicidal thoughts to you during a phone call, keep the person on the phone and try to find the person’s location. Text, email, or call on another line to get help for the person. Keep talking until help arrives.
  • Escort them to the chain of command, chaplain, medical, or behavioral health professional. You can also call the Veterans Crisis Line with the person by dialing 988 and pressing 1, or dial 911 if an emergency response is needed.

The Suicide Prevention Program Coordinator (SPPC) and Suicide Prevention Program Officer (SPPO) can provide copies of business card sized Recognize, Ask, Care, Escort (R.A.C.E.) documents on the Manpower and Reserve Affairs website.

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