Navy Suicide Prevention Branch’s annual Cross Disciplinary Case Reviews consistently find that the majority of Sailors who die by suicide experienced a loss of belongingness, such as an inability to connect with shipmates, feeling like a burden on friends or family, or a perceived lack of purpose in the workplace or mission. While suicide is rarely the result of a single stressor or risk factor, strong connections and support are protective factors during challenging times. One small act from a shipmate, leader or family member can make a difference, and save a life.
September is Navy Suicide Prevention Month, kicking off our upcoming fiscal year Suicide Prevention efforts across the fleet. This year we are launching a new message within our Every Sailor, Every Day campaign, 1 Small ACT. This message encourages simple yet meaningful interactions to support one another, foster dialogue, promote early use of resources and prevent suicide.
Our goal isn’t to prevent suicide on a single day or month—and we need your help to be there for every Sailor, every day. By leveraging Suicide Prevention Month in September, shipmates, leaders, family and community members can reenergize local efforts and build sustainable initiatives that motivate positive action all year long. To help you kick off this phase of the Every Sailor, Every Day campaign at the deckplate or in your community, Navy Suicide Prevention Branch has developed the 1 Small ACT Toolkit to implement in September. This printable toolkit includes resources to help in times of crisis, high-resolution graphics for use on social media or in print products, and ideas for actions you can take during September and year-round.
This year, Sailors, families and the entire Navy community will have the opportunity to engage and contribute at the peer level by participating in the 1 Small ACT Photo Gallery. Individuals or groups can post photos of themselves holding up the 1 Small ACT sign personalized with a simple action that they can perform to make a difference in a shipmate’s life (e.g., “I will continue to reach out to my shipmates, even after they’ve changed duty stations.”). The image gallery will be housed on the Navy Operational Stress Control Facebook Page, illustrating the many ways to support every Sailor, every day. Submissions will be accepted from Sept.1, 2015 through Aug. 31, 2016 by emailing photo(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org or uploading via the Real Warriors App. Be sure to check out the entry details in the toolkit or online before submitting!
On Sept. 1, suicide prevention coordinators, health promotion personnel, chaplains, leaders and other key influencers will have an opportunity to learn more about Navy’s evidence-based suicide prevention and intervention tools through a live-facilitated webinar. More information about this training, co-hosted by Navy Suicide Prevention Branch (OPNAV N171) and Navy & Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) is available on the Webinars page of NMCPHC’s Health Promotion and Wellness Department’s website. Registration is required by August 27 and can be completed by visiting https://survey.max.gov/933674.
One small act can make a big difference. Let us know how we can help you plan and organize your efforts to fight suicide, in September and throughout the year! To get the latest Navy Suicide Prevention Month resources, including the 1 Small ACT Toolkit, visit our Every Sailor, Every Day webpage. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for examples of small acts that you can perform on a daily basis to support your shipmates, and stay tuned to NavyNavStress for more resources.