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According to a Center for Disease Control study in June 2020, over 40 percent of adults struggled with mental health or substance abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic, and nearly 11 percent had contemplated suicide within the 30 days preceding the study. That number was significantly higher among respondents between 18-24 years old.
Scientists and mental health care providers have warned that living through a global pandemic could adversely affect the mental health of individuals, including young Sailors and family members. With this in mind, Navy Region Southeast worked with LivingWorks Start to offer a free online suicide awareness course to military personnel, family members, and DoD civilian employees. The free 90-minute online program provides personalized information about suicide prevention and the meaningful actions someone can take to help keep others safe.
“We recognized that the many stressors and pro-longed periods of isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic can lead someone to experience thoughts of suicide,” said Lt. Larry Jones, a LivingWorks Program Manager and Navy Region Southeast chaplain. “This program offers hope by offering suicide prevention and awareness skills via an online platform. The sessions allow suicide prevention and awareness training to continue without having to meet in person.’
The LW Start program can be accessed through any computer, smartphone or tablet while people continue to telework and social distance away from the workplace. Additionally, the program incorporates simulations and interactive content that customizes the experience for each user making it a more focused experience depending on each person’s background, location, and needs.
“Anyone can have suicidal thoughts at anytime. It is important that leaders, supervisors, co-workers and parents have the resources available if the behaviors of those close to you become concerning,” said Rear Adm. Gary Mayes, Commander, Navy Region Southeast. “This new program is all about ensuring we are armed with the capabilities to help our shipmates and family when they are most vulnerable.”
Jones emphasizes that there is a significant need to increase awareness and enhance skills within the Region Southeast team as suicide prevention is a community effort.
“The more people trained in suicide prevention and awareness skills creates an environment where people feel safe to speak about their troubles and reach out for help,” he said. “The LivingWorks program affords parents, teachers, department heads and fellow Sailors an opportunity to learn and become part of a suicide safer community.”
The program is available to all military and family members above the age of 13, and DoD civilian employees at any installation within Navy Region Southeast.
To register for the training, participants are encouraged to contact Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 904-542-5645. Please include the email you wish to use for accessing the training with any request.
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