I’ve visited every Fleet, spoken with many of you personally, and heard first-hand what you’re going through.
From extended deployments, to the COVID-19 pandemic, to some even questioning whether your contributions are worth it…many have felt overwhelmed, and even isolated. No matter what you’re going through, there are Shipmates ready to do whatever they can to help you get help and find hope.
During September, which is Suicide Prevention Month, we must #BeThere for our Shipmates, and shine a light on the topic of suicide.
This year’s Suicide Prevention Month theme is: Connect to Protect: Support is Within Reach, highlighting the important role connections with family, friends, the community, and resources play in preventing suicide. More importantly, the theme reinforces how everyone in our Navy family can and should play a role in preventing suicide.
That is why I want to encourage everyone to reach out – whether that’s seeking help for yourself or offering assistance to a Shipmate.
We cannot do it alone—we need everyone to take an active role in helping prevent suicide. Each of us—Sailors, veterans, DoD civilians, and their families—needs to “Connect to Protect” and show that support is readily available 24/7/365. We have a moral duty to protect each other — now more than ever.
To all of our leaders out there, no matter your rank, you can make a profound difference at a critical time in the lives of our shipmates. That is why there cannot be any BYSTANDERS in our Navy and why it’s so important that WE ALL take the time to look for potential risk factors and warning signs. We need all hands on deck for this.
One Small ACT can make a difference and save a life. Talk to your people, listen to them, be available, and encourage them to seek help if they need it.
If you have thoughts of suicide, reach out and ask someone for help—seeking help is a sign of courage and strength. Now is the time to lean on each other and figure out ways to stay strong, be resilient, and even grow during this challenging time.
Help is always available and there are many resources available to help navigate stress.
• Find help with your local Navy chaplain, Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC), or medical provider.
• Review and share resources from Military OneSource.
• Use the Military Crisis Line (call 1-800-273-TALK, press 1 or text 838255) for assistance.
• Check out the 1 Small ACT toolkit for more information about how to check in and #BeThere for Every Sailor, Every Day.
• The Sailor Assistance and Intercept for Life (SAIL) program is also available to provide safety planning, suicide risk assessment, and caring contacts, as well as to act as a liaison and advocate for Sailors following instances of suicide-related behaviors.
• Follow the Navy’s Project 1 Small ACT campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress.
Our Sailors are what makes our Navy great. We need you. And we promise to be there when you need us.
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