By Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs
September is Navy Suicide Prevention Month and the launch pad for year-long efforts to build resilience and unit cohesion, navigate stress, and promote a culture supportive of seeking help as a sign of strength. Life counts. It takes honor, courage, and commitment to prevent suicide and simple acts of kindness make a difference. Seeking help is a sign of strength and by helping others we help ourselves.
Suicide prevention goes beyond training people to recognize risk factors, warning signs or what to do in a crisis. You may not realize it, but suicide prevention happens every day when you do something kind for someone who didn’t expect it, or just take the time to actually listen to someone when you ask how they’re doing. It’s hard to quantify exactly how many lives you’re impacting or how you’re impacting them, but the one fact you can count on is that the little things you do mean something big to someone else. Often when we realize that we’ve helped others, we have a renewed sense of purpose and contribution even when we’re experiencing our own challenges and setbacks.
Each September, the Armed Forces recognize Suicide Prevention Month to encourage ongoing proactive conversations about stress so service members and their families feel more comfortable seeking help. The Navy’s theme for Suicide Prevention Month this year is “Thrive in Your Community.” Through recent NavyTHRIVE communications, we’ve discussed the importance of taking actions to help you grow in the face of stressors. The ability to thrive is the next step in building resilience and solidifying the relationship between personal responsibility and supportive communities. This year’s Suicide Prevention Month theme underscores that concept, highlighting a sense of community and purpose as protective factors during times of adversity. We’re all in this together and by helping others, you help yourself.
To support “Thrive in Your Community” efforts, Sailors are encouraged to get together and make a difference to others. There is no mandatory requirement or minimum level of engagement. You can work on a service project in town as a unit, organize an awareness walk/run around your installation for your shipmates and their families, or develop a public service announcement as a Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions chapter. It’s up to you.
Remember, suicide prevention is an all hands evolution. So family and civilian involvement is encouraged. By stepping outside of yourselves and your everyday focus to make an impact and share an emotional connection, you’re not only investing time in others, but also in yourself.
The Navy’s Suicide Prevention month initiatives are a launch pad for year-round local efforts to build resilience and cohesion, navigate stress and promote a culture supportive of seeking help as a sign of strength. Throughout the month, resources will be released to increase collective awareness and bring conversations about healthy stress navigation to the forefront. Make sure you follow us to get the latest updates. Together, we can help each other thrive, not just survive!
For more information on Navy Suicide Prevention Month, reference NAVADMIN 212/13.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, seek assistance immediately by contacting the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.