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Suicide Prevention – We Have the Power and Responsibility to Help

By Vice Adm. Bill Moran
Chief of Naval Personnel

Suicide is a tragedy that the Navy works to address every single day. While we have strengthened prevention and intervention strategies, we can’t stop there.

Over the past year, we’ve aggressively informed Sailors and commands of warning signs, provided prevention tips, and set command climates that support open dialogue and encourage Sailors to seek help.

Last month during Suicide Prevention Month, we launched “1 Small ACT.” Preventing suicide, however, is not a momentary action, or something we think about one month out of the year; it’s 24 / 7 / 365. It is about breaking barriers and encouraging Sailors to seek help. It’s about taking time to care and asking tough questions.

Right now in your division, your office, your department, your ship or your command, there is someone that may need your help, struggling with stress or having thoughts of suicide. Be aware of the following trends and signs:

  • Most of our suicides occur among enlisted 20-24 year old Caucasian males
  • Relationship problems and transitions are significant contributors with more than 50% of the Sailors who died by suicide in the past three years experiencing relationship problems
  • Fall from glory (legal, disciplinary, personal failure, loss of status) continues to be a factor in many suicides
  • Death by firearm is the most common method of suicide

Progress will be made one Sailor at a time, one act at a time. Talk to your shipmates, look for these signs. Ask them how they’re doing. Open the dialogue. Help those in distress.

Assistance is always available. Call the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), www.militarycrisisline.net or text 838255 for free confidential support 24 / 7.

See you in the Fleet,

CNP

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