Every Sailor, Every Day

Story Number: NNS140923-17Release Date: 9/23/2014 2:51:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Alex Millar, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At Sea (NNS) -- September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), along with the Navy, is focused on building trustful and meaningful connections between peers to help prevent suicide.

This year's theme, "Every Sailor, Every Day", promotes the importance of relationships, peer support, individual responsibility and open communication.

"Every Sailor, every day, means that I need to be looking out for my shipmates every day, and I need to know them and be aware of when they are not themselves, in order to ask the right questions, offer guidance and get in front of problems like depression or suicidal thinking," said Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gregory White, a TR Sailor who has lost a number of friends to suicide.

Every Sailor has access to multiple resources to help those who are contemplating suicide.

"There are several people a person can reach out to regarding suicide. There is a psychologist onboard along with a hospital corpsman psych tech, the suicide prevention coordinator and four chaplains," said Religious Programs Specialist (RP) 1st Class William Murdy.

Chaplains train to treat Sailors contemplating suicide while providing full confidentiality to any Sailor who requests help.

"Every Chaplain onboard TR is Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) trained. I am also 'Suicide Alertness for Everyone' trained, which is basically a more advanced version of our general military training," said Murdy. "Anytime somebody talks to a chaplain or an RP in relation to a chaplain, the conversation is confidential."

The ASIST workshop is for caregivers who want to feel more comfortable, confident and competent at helping prevent suicide, according to www.livingworks.net. A person does not need specialty training to help prevent suicide.

"The Navy uses the acronym ACT - ask, care, treat - and that is exactly what you have to do," said White. "You have to ask them questions, listen to them, care for them and then think about what resources you can point them to and also how much help you, as an individual, can give them."

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is the launch-pad for a yearlong suicide awareness engagement throughout the Navy aimed at fostering sustainable initiatives that support resilience.

"If you have a month dedicated to raising awareness, it serves as a reminder and brings the topic back to the forefront of our minds," said White. "Suicide Prevention Awareness Month also brings everybody back down to reality, because we go through the motions of living life all year long and sometimes we forget about all those who took their lives."

Join the conversation with TR online at www.facebook.com/USSTheodoreRoosevelt and www.Twitter.com/TheRealCVN71 and www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.

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