Suicide prevention starts with being honest

by Cpl. Breanna Weisenberger
U.S. Marine Corps

In January 2017, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jason L. Carter, a radio chief, attempted suicide. Today, he stands as a survivor, crisis response counselor and a voice for victims of suicidal ideations.

"It begins like anyone else's story. Everything was going well, or so it seemed," said Carter.

Carter’s mother passed away while he was deployed overseas in Okinawa, Japan as a radio operator just months after his son was born.

"I had a pretty good career, no issues after 13 years, including a couple of combat deployments. Then things went south when my mother passed," said Carter.

According to Carter, he was struggling being away from his son, and his mother’s passing was the beginning of internal battle.

Upon his return to the States for recruiting duty, Carter’s marriage collapsed.

"I was still dealing with my mother's passing," said Carter. "There were some issues between me and my son’s mother. To no fault of her own, but I don't think she whole heartedly knew what I was dealing with."

Months later, Carter was engaged to be married when his fiancé left him.

"I was having issues at work. I was told I was a failure at being a father. I lost my mom and the only other person that was my backbone, left me," said Carter. "That was the last nail in the coffin. I had no barriers."

Carter had taken his .40 caliber pistol and shot himself in the stomach. His ex-wife called the paramedics.

Four days and several surgeries later, Carter was stable.

"It’s been a bit of a journey, mostly emotional if not physical, and sometimes both," said Carter. "I've had to rely much more on those who are close to me."

According to Carter, he calls his ‘brother’ nearly every day and visits once a week.

"He's not a biological brother, but we are closer than any biological brother that I do have," he said. "We've known each other for over 14 years."

Carter also became a crisis response counselor as a part of his recovery journey.

"Ideations do happen, and don't feel guilty about it," he said. "There were definitely people around me, but no fault on them. They just weren't prepared for it because I know people saw me spiraling out of control, but nobody said a thing."

According to Carter, when people call 1-800-273-TALK, real people, like himself, respond and assess the situation, and send help if need be.

"It starts with being honest. If you can be honest with yourself and you can be honest with that other person,” said Carter. “You can receive a lot of help, instead of you facing that battle on your own."

If you or anyone you know is seriously considering suicide, please call 1-800-273-TALK.

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