NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- More than 90 officers, senior enlisted, and staff members from Officer Training Command (OTC) held a suicide prevention standdown, Sept. 26.
September is the Navy's suicide prevention awareness month and all commands throughout the Navy are conducting similar training to raise education and awareness.
Officer Training Command, which oversees Officer Candidate School, Officer Development School, Direct Commission Officer Indoctrination Course, Chief Warrant Officer/ Limited Duty Officer Academy, and the Seaman to Admiral 21 (STA-21) Naval Science Institute, prepares students for their commissions in the U.S. Navy.
Capt. Vern Kemper, OTC commanding officer addressed the staff at the beginning of the training.
"All of us have been touched by this are deeply invested in this because it is about taking care of our own," said Kemper.
During the training, OTC leadership watched a video of Chief Parachute Rigger Jeremy Kelsey (AW/SW) sharing his story of psychological pain, which ultimately lead to him attempting suicide. Kelsey said that it was not until he asked for help that he received the treatment he needed to resolve his problems. Kelsey attributed his making chief to the help he received and the support of the Navy.
"We are losing four Sailors to suicide to every one we are losing in combat," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Christopher Williams, psychiatric technician. "It doesn't matter who you go and talk to, just seek treatment.
The training focused on A.C.T., which is the acronym to remember when intervening, "Ask, Care, and Treat." Ask someone directly if the are thinking about killing themselves. Care about the person, their situation and their response. Help them get the treatment they need.
"The goal behind suicide prevention is resiliency," said Lt. Natalie Claypool, OTC suicide prevention coordinator. "As a staff we need to practice resiliency and instill that in our students. We need to focus as much on mental health as we do our physical health."
After educating the staff on signs, symptoms, and statistics of suicide in the Navy, the training continued with case studies and examples of suicide risk assessment, which gave examples of suicide ideation language. The exercise afforded the staff an opportunity participate and engage in discussion regarding perception of some common ideations.
"We are not assessing these cases to determine if we should intervene. You should intervene anytime some says they are suicidal," said Capt Kevin Bradshaw, Naval Health Clinic New England suicide prevention coordinator. "Anyone can help."
If you are having suicidal thoughts or other problems please call 1-800 273 TALK (8255).
For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.