VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- One in twenty people have thought about suicide. Lt. Jg. Ryan Davis, Training Support Center Hampton Roads (TSCHR) Command Chaplain is training Sailors to be Suicide Alert Helpers.
The title of the training is safeTALK which not only expresses the need for people with suicidal thoughts to have a safe person to talk to; it is also an acronym. SAFE stands for Suicide Awareness For Everyone. TALK stands for Tell, Ask, Listen, Keep Safe, the four steps to helping Sailors with suicidal thoughts to get the support they need.
Once a week, Davis conducts a three-hour safeTALK course. Students learn how to interact compassionately with a potentially suicidal person.
This includes asking if a person is thinking about suicide, listening to their response, recognizing suicidal thoughts, and knowing what resources are available, so that they can become a link to safety.
The course is composed of powerful video scenarios. Sailors are encouraged to role-play as a suicide helper or potential suicidal person while using safeTALK, answer questions about what they learned, and ask questions of their own.
Davis has his work cut out for him. TSCHR has an annual student throughput of 80,000.
According to Davis, “We cannot make someone choose life, not one of us can ensure that, but through this course we can recognize suicidal thoughts and that’s vital to suicide prevention,” said Davis. "Most of the time, people who are contemplating suicide, they don’t want to die; they want help.”
For more news from Training Support Center Hampton Roads, visit www.navy.mil/local/tschr/.