JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Navy Region Southeast held a proclamation signing Sept. 9 to recognize Suicide Prevention Month and to reinforce the ways in which team members can aid each other and help ensure that people in pain know they have help.
Suicide Prevention Month is also an opportunity to encourage everyone to take care of his or her physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. “One Small Act” can make all the difference in a person’s life and outlook.
“We may recognize Suicide Awareness Month in September, but it needs to be a year-round focus. One team member lost to suicide is too many,” said Rear Adm. Gary Mayes, commander of Navy Region Southeast. “We need to be there for our shipmates and commit to taking care of each other every day.”
Since 1974, the American Association of Suicidology has recognized the week of September 10 as National Suicide Prevention Week. This coincides with the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s World Suicide Prevention Day. The Department of Defense Suicide Prevention Office and Veterans Affairs Mental Health Services expanded the weekly recognition to include the entire month in 2012.
By signing the proclamation, Mayes reminded everyone that “Navy life is incredibly rewarding, but equally challenging, and we need to take the time to Ask, Care and Treat each other and ourselves. Positive relationships and belongingness are crucial to overall wellness, and suicide prevention is an “all hands evolution, all of the time.”
Suicide Awareness Month is an opportunity to reenergize the conversation and remind people of the many ways in which they can help. Chaplains, corpsmen, doctors, supervisors and others are official gatekeepers who can often provide assistance, but it's the simple acts of including someone in a workout, having a cup of coffee with them in the morning or lending a sympathetic ear that can have a big impact when someone is feeling disconnected. “One Small Act” can make a difference and save a life.
Help is available in many ways and from many sources. For someone feeling stressed, don’t wait until it becomes serious. Get it off your chest with the help of the Military Crisis Hotline. It's an anonymous and confidential outreach center available to all service members and their families – (800) 723-8255 (TALK) or via text at 838255. People who want to help but don’t know how can check out the Navy Operational Stress Control Facebook page for ways to be there for their teammates.
There’s a world of ways in which someone can help prevent a suicide, but the most important is just to show that you care.
For more news from Commander, Navy Region Southeast, visit www.navy.mil/local/nrse/.