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Health and Fitness

Celebrating 6 Months of Small ACTs

1 Small Act

March marks the six-month anniversary of the Every Sailor, Every Day campaign's "1 Small ACT" message, which launched during Navy Suicide Prevention Month in September 2015.

While serving as a call-to-action promoting simple ways to stay connected, encourage healthy stress navigation and build resilience 365 days a year, "1 Small ACT" has emerged as more than just a campaign message. Through a digital photo gallery housed on Navy Operational Stress Control's Facebook page, "1 Small ACT" has come to represent the many everyday ways Sailors, family members and civilians can lead by example and lean on each other throughout life's challenges. So far, more than 400 photos and videos have been submitted in support of the "1 Small ACT" message, ranging from commanding officers, chiefs messes, CSADD chapters, individual Sailors, family members and Navy's most senior leaders.

Suicide prevention is the responsibility of all people. One small act -- the decision to reach out to your neighbor, offer support to a friend, or encourage a veteran in need to seek help -- can make a difference." - President Barack Obama, World Suicide Prevention Day White House Proclamation
This is a photo collage of sailors participating in 1 small act.

The gallery, which accepts submissions through August 2016, features a wide range of commitments to making a difference and supporting psychological health. Sailors from the forward deployed USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) submitted more than 200 photos to the gallery, mostly captured in the ship's hangar bay. Though the photos showcase Sailors' immense creativity in thinking of ways to support themselves and others, a few themes and commonalities emerged. Several Small ACTs centered on the use of humor to help shipmates regain a positive outlook, commitments to help new check-ins feel welcomed and efforts to promote cohesion.

I will...make sure none of my Sailors in my division get excluded from a liberty event." -Sailor, USS Bonhomme Richard

"Strong connections and support are protective factors during challenging times. It's inspiring to see Sailors of all ranks thinking about what they can do to broaden the conversation about suicide prevention and build community," said Capt. Mike Fisher, Director, Navy Suicide Prevention Branch. The branch's annual Cross Disciplinary Case Reviews consistently find that the majority of Sailors who die by suicide experience a loss of belongingness (such as an inability to connect with shipmates), feel like a burden on friends or family, or perceive lack of purpose in the workplace or mission. Sailors undergoing a career transition (retirement, personal change of station, separation, etc.), relationship issues, and career or personal setbacks are at increased risk. "Ongoing engagement and active communication can open the door for early intervention and support," said Fisher. "Our goal with '1 Small ACT' is not to limit suicide prevention to a single day or month of the year, rather our goal is to be there for every Sailor, every day."
This is a photo collage of sailors participating in 1 small act.

Sailors at the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) produced a video illustrating the power that "1 Small ACT" has had in their lives, and how they pledge to pay it forward. One Sailor discussed his experience as a new check-in at his first duty station after his wallet was stolen. He unexpectedly received a card in the mail from one of his Sunday school teachers back home that contained $25. "She did not know that I needed that money and just felt compelled to insert that money into the showed me that there is compassion anywhere and there's always someone watching out for you."

Five other Sailors, including two ONI suicide prevention coordinators, shared their stories of Small ACTs that made a difference in their lives. Videos and multimedia have been popular creative alternatives to singular photos, with Surface Warfare Officer School Great Lakes compiling a video slideshow of their photos, currently housed in the video gallery on Navy Operational Stress Control's Facebook page.

I will always take care of my Sailors. ACT is not a buzzword for the month of September - it applies 24/7 year-round." -Cmdr. David Dwyer, Commanding Officer, Surface Warfare Officers School Great Lakes

It's never too late to get involved. No act is too small to make a difference - or save a life. Here's how you can help:

1. Take a selfie with your Small ACT written on this sign and email it to, post it to Facebook with the hashtag #1SmallACT or submit through the Real Warriors app for inclusion in the photo gallery.

2. Encourage your shipmates, family and friends to participate. Group photos (and videos) are powerful signs of solidarity and community!

3. Perform 1 Small ACT (or many Small ACTs) every day. You can sing a funny song to bring a smile to a shipmate's face, organize a teambuilding event, take five minutes to let five people in your life know how important they are to you, accompany a shipmate to seek help for stress concerns...the possibilities are endless! For more ideas, check out the 1 Small ACT Toolkit released for 2015 Navy Suicide Prevention Month.

4. Break the silence and start conversations about psychological health as early and often as you would discuss physical health. Talking about stress, suicide and other concerns may reduce negative perceptions and barriers that prevent seeking help.

5. Lead by example. If you are having difficulty navigating stress - from relationship challenges, to career setbacks, financial problems or psychological health concerns - help is always available. Speak with a trusted shipmate or leader, seek the confidential support of a Navy chaplain or call the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK (Option 1).

Navy Suicide Prevention Branch thanks all who have participated in the 1 Small ACT Photo Gallery, as well as those who perform Small ACTs every day without recognition. Together, we can be there for Every Sailor, Every Day.
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