The qualities that shape great leaders are often qualities many of us try to emulate—whether it’s balancing assertiveness with respect, mentoring with confidence or fostering a supportive environment, we all know some of the key components that go into building and maintaining resilient teams. Even if you aren’t in a formal leadership role, there may still be individuals out there looking to you for guidance to help inform their decisions. Role modeling positive behaviors for your shipmates, family members and friends not only helps fuel your personal growth, but can also impact those around you for the better.

Understand the risk factors and warning signs of suicide. Familiarize yourself with the risk factors for and warning signs of suicide. Risk factors for suicide are complex, and you do not need to see every risk factor or warning sign to ACT. If something feels off, trust your gut, reach out to that person and start a conversation. If you’re not sure where or how to start, try using our mental health conversation recipe cards as a starting point. Early intervention is critical to suicide prevention and speaking up can make a difference and help save someone’s life. Pay attention to the attitudes and actions of those around you, and how they change over time. People sometimes speak the loudest without saying a word. While we remain physically distant, it is also important to be able to recognize risk online and on social media. Take a few moments to learn how to spot social media content that may indicate distress and/or increased risk. 

Familiarize yourself with available suicide prevention and psychological health resources. Find command-specific support by contacting your local Navy chaplain (use NAVY311), Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) or medical provider. The Sailor Assistance & Intercept for Life (SAIL) program is also available to help Sailors navigate resources following instances of suicide related behaviors (SRBs). Review, save and share the following confidential resources:

Improve your listening skills when connecting with others. Feeling a sense of connection is a protective factor against suicide, and healthy relationships impact several aspects of our health. Listening to understand (active listening), not just respond, helps others feel heard. Remaining transparent with others in discussing thoughts of suicide or other forms of self-harm helps encourage asking for help. Consider new ways to talk to others about preventative measures, like self-care and healthy boundaries, to help mitigate stress together. This month, challenge yourself to send a Caring Connections graphic from Project 1 Small ACT each week to a shipmate or use one of them to give a shoutout to someone on social media.

1 Small ACT can make a difference. For more tips on preventing suicide and navigating stress, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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