By Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison, III
Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Suicide is an issue that impacts every member of the Navy and Marine Corps family. Suicide prevention requires our attention and action throughout the year. One suicide attempt within our Navy and Marine Corps family is one too many. We are a team and we care for each other. Every one of us is critical to our mission. Help me ensure we are doing all we can to help those on our team who might be having difficulties and might be thinking about suicide.
The death of a Sailor or Marine by suicide is a tragedy that affects his or her family, command and community. The questions we ask ourselves in attempts to understand what happened in the aftermath are important. The answers help us more effectively intervene. But looking back is not the whole solution. We must also look forward and be there for our shipmates.
If you think that a shipmate is having thoughts about suicide, ACT Now:
- Ask them directly.
- Listen without judgment and show that you Care.
- Treat them with respect and make they are safely escorted to the chaplain or to medical for evaluation and appropriate treatment.
Continued support is needed after treatment as a Sailor or Marine goes back into the command or as they transition out of the Navy or Marine Corps.
We must constantly engage in open communication with each other, so that we are aware when something warrants attention. Prevention involves courageous action in order to ensure that our shipmates know we care and get the help they need. It’s about being there for every Sailor and Marine, every day.
As your surgeon general, my top priority is making sure that our Sailors, Marines and their families are healthy, ready and on the job. I am committed to doing all that is within my power to care for our shipmates and ensure we are doing all we can to, one day, return them home safely.
Action starts with prevention, which starts with you!