From Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- The chief of naval personnel spoke to Sailors on the importance of suicide prevention, Feb. 11 during a visit to Navy Personnel Command.
"It is an all-hands responsibility for shipmates to recognize when someone may be in distress. It is the responsibility of leadership to ensure the programs are in place and that Sailors have access to them. It is the responsibility of chief petty officers and leaders on the deck plate to recognize when Sailors are under stress and to ensure they have access to treatment programs," said Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson, chief of naval personnel.
"Suicide is generally a response to stress -- to a person feeling hopeless or distressed with their personal situation. It is a tragedy and one that can be prevented" said Ferguson adding that Sailors may be able to help prevent suicide if they ACT.
"If people remember to ACT, ask, care, treat, they will be on the right path," said Lt. Cmdr. Bonnie Chavez, behavioral health program manager for the Navy. Chavez recently introduced a series of suicide prevention posters designed by Sailors to help teach Sailors to ACT.
"Don't be afraid to ask someone if they are thinking of taking their own life. Care enough to let the person know that suicidal feelings are temporary and that depression can be treated and then get help. Treat – take them to an emergency room or walk in clinic, don't leave them alone, take action, remove means, such as guns, stockpiled pills, ropes, and sharp objects," said Chavez.
Suicide prevention education is among the 12 general military training topics required for all hands in 2009. The new course titled Introduction to the Stress Response Continuum and Suicide Awareness is available at Navy Knowledge Online.
Commands can find more information about suicide prevention in OPNAVINST 1720.4, Suicide Prevention Program, which provides guidance for commanding officers and senior enlisted leadership on suicide prevention training.
Early intervention is vital to suicide prevention efforts at all levels of the Navy. Chavez pointed out that most people give some warning of their suicidal intentions to a friend or family member and that all suicide threats seriously should be taken seriously.
To find out more information and to view a list of the warning signs, visit www.suicide.navy.mil.