POLARIS POINT, Guam (NNS) -- The suicide awareness team aboard the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) plans to improve Sailors' resources and knowledge by implementing the Sailor Assistance and Intercept for Life (SAIL) program and improving the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) program.
The Navy announced SAIL September 16, a new program aimed at providing continual support through 90 days after a suicidal behavior.
ASIST, implemented by the Navy several years ago, provides knowledge and techniques for responding to suicide.
Lt. Takana Jefferson, the ship's chaplain and suicide prevention coordinator, said the plan is a sign of good things to come.
"We are in the process of revamping the program," said Jefferson. "We are going to train watchstanders on how to react to suicidal behaviors so they are better equipped. ASIST teaches Sailors how to talk with people who have suicidal idolization. SAIL is an addition to ASIST, and it provides treatment and counseling to someone who already had an incident. This is important because suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the military."
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Joseph Sablada, who works for Jefferson as a member of the suicide awareness team, said Sailors should never be afraid to talk about their issues.
"Privacy is very important to corpsmen," said Sablada. "If a person comes up to us, we accommodate them, not just as a medical provider, but as a person. Listening is the number one tool. We have to have an open mind and not violate the Sailor's privacy."
Jefferson said Sailors should not be deterred by the stigma associated with talking about difficult personal issues in the military.
"Sailors may be afraid they will be kicked out of the military or ostracized if they bring up their issues," said Jefferson. "That is not the truth. You are not weak because you are struggling. Everyone suffers at different points in their life. Whether it is you or someone you know, you can contact a chaplain, a corpsman, the senior medical officer, or anyone in your chain of command."
For more information about ASIST, SAIL and suicide awareness visit suicide.navy.mil.
Emory S. Land, homeported in Guam, conducts maintenance on submarines and surface ships in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations.
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For more news from USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), visit www.navy.mil/local/as39/.