Greetings from Your District Chaplain!
The Mission of the District Chaplain’s is to strengthen the Spiritual, Emotional, Relational, Moral Fitness of our Marines and families.
- Spiritual Fitness: How do you connect with the things in life that bring meaning? How do you connect with a purpose larger than yourself? How do you cultivate and strengthen the inner spirit? For some it may be through meditation, prayer, sacred writing, or worship. For others, it may mean volunteering, hiking or spending time with family.
- Emotional Fitness: How do you deal with stress? How do you decompress? The answers are as unique as each person. There are some things that seem to be consistent across the board: Exercise, Quality sleep, Healthy diet, Quality social interactions.
- Relational Fitness: Life is all about relationships. How can you invest in the most important relationships in your life? Spouse, children, family, and friends. For Marriage Enrichment, you may be able to attend a CREDO Marriage Retreat, which is an all-expenses paid weekend at a hotel or conference center.
- Moral Fitness: Character counts on this assignment more than ever. There are so many ways for our moral compass to be thrown off, so each person must be on guard that they do not indulge in the little compromises that eventually lead to a path of destruction. The Marines are admonished to “keep our morals clean.” Doing the right thing at the right time matters.
In order to accomplish the mission of spiritual, emotional, relational and moral fitness, the Chaplain Supports, Trains, Assesses, Advises, and Refers.
- Support: 24/7 Confidential Counseling and Crisis Support, Face-to-Face or Distance, In Person or (more likely) over the phone. Help is only a phone call away. YOUR CHAPLAIN CARES ABOUT YOU. Regardless of your background or faith tradition, I want you to be the very best and healthiest person you can possibly be. 100% confidentiality allows a person to talk freely about the most sensitive topics. On recruiting duty most of the chaplain counseling gravitates around the topics of stress, marriage, crisis intervention, and adjustment to the new assignment.
- Training: Provides quarterly (and as requested) training on Wellness, Stress Management, Suicide Prevention, Spiritual Fitness, Relationship Enrichment, Character Development.
- Assessment: Quarterly visits with Canvassing Recruiters, with a particular emphasis on 1st year Recruiters.
- Advise: Update chain of command (as long as it doesn’t violate confidentiality) on issues related to morale and well-being of Marines/families.
- Referral: Medical, Military OneSource, CREDO, DRC or other resource as needed.
What to Expect from Your Chaplain
1. YOUR CHAPLAIN CARES ABOUT YOU. Regardless of your background or faith tradition, I want you to be the very best and healthiest person you can possibly be. 100% confidentiality allows a person to talk freely about the most sensitive topics. On recruiting duty most of the chaplain counseling gravitates around the topics of stress, marriage, crisis intervention, and adjustment to the new assignment.
2. CONFIDENTIAL COUNSELING – This 100% confidentiality allows a person to talk freely about the most sensitive topics. On recruiting duty most of the chaplain counseling gravitates around the topics of stress, marriage, crisis intervention, and adjustment to the new assignment.
3. CRISIS RESPONSE / INTERVENTION – Any one of us can reach a point of being overwhelmed by events in life. But there is always hope. There is always someone who cares.
4. CEREMONIES – Religious events, Command events, Retirements and weddings.
Most Frequent Challenges to Look Out for on Recruiting Duty:
- Work Stress – This is common and often peaks at 7-9 months into the assignment. Key indicators are 1) lack of sleep, 2) lack of exercise, 3) lack of proper nutrition in conjunction with 4) diminished family time.
- Marriage Enrichment – Marriages that are the most vulnerable have some factors in common: 1) First 12 months of recruiting tour, 2) Relocated away from support network, 3) Spouse is caring for small children, 4) Poor communication habits, and 5) Expectation management and acceptance.
- Grief – Life events happen even while there is a mission to be made. Any one of us may experience one or more of these events: loss of loved ones, marriage difficulty, and/or other life events. For every one of us who loses something or someone important, grief is a very real thing that needs to be processed. If we do it well, we will move toward acceptance.
- Cultivate healthy habits early.
- Put important dates on the calendar
- Keep a couple hours a week blocked off just for your family.
- Communicate well and often with your spouse.
- Keep a positive mental attitude.
- Get involved in your community, faith group, or other interest group.
- Connect spouses with the other spouses.
- Minimize the use of alcohol.
- Being “well” is a combination of several factors.
Suicide Prevention and Awareness
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals under the age of 35, but in most cases it is preventable. Being aware of indicators and risk factors can make our commands and our community a safer place.
Remember RACE to Intervene
If someone is exhibiting the signs that they are at risk for suicide, remember the acronym RACE to help keep the safe for now. RACE stands for Recognize, Ask, Care, and Escort.
Recognize: The Warning Signs
What are the warning signs that could indicate that a person might at risk?
- Change in behavior/appearance
- Statements about death
- Seeking information about how to die and looking to obtain means to commit suicide
- Loss of a relationship, loss of job or money
- Facing a situation of humiliation or failure
- Feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt or self-hatred
- Expressing a sense of hopelessness
- Giving away possessions
Ask: Directly and clearly about suicide. Say:
- “Are you thinking about killing yourself”? – or –
- “Are you thinking about suicide”?
Care: Let them talk and stay with them (physically and emotionally)
Escort: Take them to the next level of support and let the chain of Command know.