"Onward with Valor"
Benfold Sailors Shed Light on Suicide Awareness
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Molly Evans, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs Commander, U.S. Third Fleet Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - Sailors on USS Benfold (DDG 65) honored nationally recognized Suicide Prevention Awareness Month by launching an information campaign to educate sailors about suicide prevention Sept. 18.

Benfold's Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) committee dedicated a wall entitled "Don't Let Your Shipmate End Up On This Wall" to those who have committed suicide, in hopes of educating Sailors about suicide warning signs and prevention techniques.

"We put up the wall as a reminder that anyone is at risk of suicide and that we need to look out for each other," said Sonar Technician 3rd Class Aliesha Vaccaro, CSADD secretary.

Additionally, CSADD created a booth with help cards, informational pamphlets and hotline numbers and are providing Sailors the opportunity to test their knowledge on suicide prevention.

While suicide prevention is a year-round topic, September is the kick off for awareness.

This year's theme is "Thrive in Your Community," according to the Navy's suicide prevention website.

"Trying to handle things on our own may be noble, but sometimes a person's resources are strained and that's when suicide becomes a possibility," said Capt. Jerome Hinson, 3rd Fleet chaplain. "Some of the things that we can do to lift people up are to give them a sense of community, a sense of passion and a sense of purpose."

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is more than just bringing to light different risk factors and warning signs leading up to a suicide, it also encourages Sailors to use bystander intervention and use the three step process of A-C-T (Ask Care Treat).

The A-C-T process helps determine if someone is at risk of suicide. It consists of asking the individual if they are thinking about hurting themselves, show that you care by listening to their problems and getting them help from someone such as a chaplain or medical personnel.

CSADD brings positive peer-to-peer connections, to foster a collective focus on constructive decision-making skills.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line.
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