Naval Special Warfare Command Hosts Suicide Prevention 5K Run
CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Command hosted its first Suicide Prevention 5K Run October 4.
Sailors and civilians participated in the event to raise awareness about the issue of suicide in the Navy in order to help Sailors affected by depression, operational stress and other suicide risk factors.
NSW has adopted the Navy's theme of "Thrive in Your Community." Sailors, civilian personnel, and family members are encouraged to work together at the individual, installation and command levels to help their shipmates if something is wrong.
Chief Cryptologic Technician (Networks) (EXW/SW) James Summers, who participated in and helped organize the run, said that prevention of suicide is an important topic to the Navy because awareness of one other and being available to help out can prevent a problem from becoming a crisis.
“Suicide awareness events bring people together for a particular reason which will spark conversations of that nature. I believe it provides a safe forum to talk about a topic that makes some people uncomfortable,” said Legalman 1st Class (SW/AW) Sharon L. Renova.
The Navy provides a variety of resources pertaining to suicide prevention, including a 24/7 telephone help-line, websites on suicide prevention and operational stress management, and an online newsletter.
“Sailors should use operational stress control and not be afraid to seek help when times are difficult,” said Summers.
Deployments and combat can exacerbate depression and some people return from deployment with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
However, statistics show that fewer than half of the service members who have committed suicide have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and only about 20 percent have been in combat.
There are many factors that contribute to suicide: finances, relationship problems, substance abuse and stress. People considering suicide often mention it to someone they know. It is important to listen and help the person, or help the person to get help.
A 2012 Veterans Affairs study shows the number of suicides among veterans is around 22 deaths per day. Each suicide leaves behind grief-stricken family members and friends. It also has a negative effect on the Navy's mission.
The Navy’s Fleet and Family Support Center is a good place to start to find resources Sailors can use to get help when needed.
For more information on suicide prevention in the Navy, visit www.suicide.navy.mil or www.navynavstress.com.