Category Archives: Leadership

Celebrating Inclusion Makes Us Stronger

Connection helps us grow both personally and professionally. Fostering an open and inclusive environment improves our well-being – whether we’re empowering our shipmates to succeed, deepening our bonds with our friends with humor or expressing empathy with our family members when they’re going through a rough patch. Showing someone you care and respect them – even with a small act of kindness – can go a long way in helping others feel included and supported. 

Since we often find ourselves navigating uncertainty, establishing a support network that helps us navigate life’s twists and turns is a great way to ground ourselves. Individuals inside and outside of our central circles may have helpful insights from their experiences or new perspectives on situations, that we have not yet considered. On an individual level, valuing diverse perspectives and leveraging unique mindsets fuels our own personal growth and strengthens our communities.

Inclusion promotes innovation, establishes equity across various networks and lowers instances of negative behaviors.  From an organizational perspective, the Navy continues to invest in inclusion and diversity. The Navy defines those terms as:

  • Inclusion: valuing and integrating each individual’s perspectives, ideas and contributions into the way an organization functions and makes decisions.
  • Diversity: all of the different characteristics and attributes of our Navy Team, which are consistent with Navy core values, integral to overall readiness and mission accomplishment and is reflective of the Nation we serve.

While these definitions highlight opportunities for the Navy community to build an inclusive environment, they are just as relevant when considering your day-to-day actions when engaging with others. Gaining an understanding of the different perspectives, experiences and ideas of the people around us helps give us the flexibility to be more open to change and to make sure all identities are supported and seen. These actions help ensure that everyone in the Navy is able to bring their full selves to work.

Connection is essential during times of extreme stress. Protective factors against suicide include: a strong sense of community and belonging, psychological and physical safety, strong ties with family and friends, a fulfillment of personal purpose and a contribution or responsibility to others. Investing in your relationships with others and these protective factors prior to a stressful event occurring will help you feel more confident in exercising resilience. Make an effort to regularly express how much your loved ones mean to you as well as your respect and admiration for colleagues.

UPDATE: Suicide Prevention Webinar Archive Published

120604-N-KS651-015Editor’s note: The webinar discussed in the following news release has now been published on the NMCPHC website at


The Department of the Navy recognizes September as Suicide Prevention Month. The Every Sailor, Every Day campaign continues to emphasize the importance of ongoing support for our fellow Sailors and Marines by promoting the message “1 Small ACT.” In observance of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Month, the Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) Department at the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) will host a webinar in collaboration with Navy Suicide Prevention Branch (OPNAV N171) and Marine and Family Programs to discuss evidence-based programs and tools for suicide prevention and intervention used in the Navy and Marine Corps. This webinar will be focused on efforts from the deckplate to the leadership level. Speakers will address the importance of recognizing and understanding the factors that put Sailors and Marines at risk for suicide and the importance of communicating with one another to connect the dots and take action.

  • NMCPHC will discuss the available resources that can assist Sailors and Marines navigate stress and develop the positive coping skills that can assist with facing life’s challenges.
  • Navy Suicide Prevention Branch will address evidence-based intervention resources, tools, and training across the Fleet.
  • Marine and Family Programs, Community Counseling and Prevention will present the Marine Corps INTERCEPT Program and current Marine Corps suicide prevention efforts.

The webinar will be presented by:

  • Mr. Steve Holton, Deputy Director, OPNAV N171
  • LCDR Sam Stephens, Psy.D, Marine and Family Programs, Community Counseling and Prevention
  • Dr. Mark Long, Public Health Educator, HPW Department, NMCPHC


  • Describe current evidence-based suicide prevention and intervention efforts across the Navy and Marine Corps.
  • Communicate the importance of recognizing and understanding the factors that put Sailors and Marines at risk for suicide.
  • Identify helping resources available to Sailors, Marines, and their families across the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense.

Registration is required for this webinar, and registration will close on Aug. 27. For registration information, visit the HPW Department’s Webinars Web page. You must have a Common Access Card to register for/attend this webinar.

Gearing Up for 2015 Suicide Prevention Month – 1 Small ACT at a Time

Navy Suicide Prevention Branch’s annual Cross Disciplinary Case Reviews blog actconsistently 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 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

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.

A Place to Start, for you and “Every Sailor, Every Day”

By Rear Adm. Rick Snyder, director, 21st Century Sailor Office

Though September may be coming to a close, we must stay the course when it comes to taking actions to help our Sailors and families navigate stress, promote open communication, provide access to resources, and prevent suicide. Navy Suicide Prevention Month isn’t about 30 days of awareness; it’s about energizing deckplate and community efforts for the next 365 days, so that psychological health and wellness remain an ongoing priority—and an all hands effort.

Whether you joined your community to “Walk Out of the Darkness” this month, developed an inspirational Public Service Announcement, helped your shipmates and colleagues “bust work stress,” “Pledged to ACT” or offered reassuring words to others, your efforts made and will continue to make a difference in the lives of those around you—and in your own life. I encourage all to reflect on Suicide Prevention Month and use it as a place to start, for you and for Every Sailor, Every Day. To that end, I share the following blog post authored by Lt. Jay Morrison, U.S. Naval Hospital Guam, underscoring the simple, but impactful, things we can do to set a positive example for others and change our perspective during challenging times. It starts with gratitude.

For Suicide Prevention and Operational Stress Control resources throughout the year, visit and

Expressions of Gratitude Go a Long Way
By Lt. Jay Morrison, U.S. Naval Hospital Guam

Expressions of gratitude have been linked to greater goal achievement, improved physical health, increased exercise, better sleep, and even an improved ability to overcome memories of potentially traumatic events. Here are some ideas for promoting gratitude.

Expressions of gratitude have been linked to greater goal achievement, improved physical health, increased exercise, better sleep, and even an improved ability to overcome memories of potentially traumatic events. Here are some ideas for promoting gratitude.

As we move through suicide prevention month, we’re reminded of the important warning signs to watch for in our shipmates, and to spot signs of trouble: increased substance use, withdrawal, recklessness, changes in mood or personality, and especially expressions of hopelessness or wishes to die.

We all face adversity and can help each other to be ready for the day that adversity rears its head. Cultivating gratitude is a great place to start.

We’ve heightened our sensitivity to shipmates who feel alienated, think they don’t belong, or have a sense they are a burden to others. We’ve pledged ourselves wholeheartedly to reach out to those in distress, or those who have had setbacks in their lives. We’ve pledged to ACT (Ask, Care, Treat). We’ve re-qualified with our weapons to fight suicide: our connections to our chaplains, mental health providers, Fleet and Family Support Centers, Navy suicide awareness resources and suicide prevention hotlines.

Our defenses are ready – our early detection tools for trouble are calibrated and our vehicles for rapid intervention well-maintained. As we move forward, we must commit as a team to building our offense – positively building health, happiness, and resilience in ourselves and those around us. We all face adversity and can help each other to be ready for the day that adversity rears its head. Cultivating gratitude is a great place to start.

Build Gratitude
Expressions of gratitude have been linked to greater goal achievement, improved physical health, increased exercise, better sleep, and even an improved ability to overcome memories of potentially traumatic events. Here are some ideas for promoting gratitude.

  • Before going to bed, list five things that happened in the last 24 hours for which you’re genuinely grateful. Think big (I’m grateful for seeing a good friend) and small (my favorite galley meal today – love that meatloaf!). It can be done mentally, or you can write it down.
  • For a limited time, give up something you take for granted. Even if underway or forward deployed, there’s at least a small luxury you enjoy every day. Let it go for a week and notice what happens. Do you appreciate it even more? Do you feel stronger for having gone without it at will?
  • Express gratitude to others often. Give three sincere compliments a day. We feel at our best when we help others to do the same. Express your appreciation for the actions of others. Be clear and specific. After a week, see what happens – are you more focused on people’s positive qualities? Do those around you seem more motivated? Are you more enthused?
  • Think flexibly about adversity. Bring a challenging experience from your past to mind, or a challenge you’re experiencing now, and write a list of the ways in which this thought-provoking experience has helped you to grow. This is not the same as simply “looking on the bright side” or denying that a bad event was, in fact, bad. It is about looking at stimulating experiences in their totality, flexibly from all sides, and focusing energy on the lessons learned, and the muscles strengthened.

Remaining mentally tough, resilient and ready takes effort, the same way we need three healthy meals a day, and a commitment to regular exercise, psychological strength takes continuous action and reinforcement. These activities are a place to start, for you and Every Sailor, Every Day.

For more ideas, see The Complete Guide to Resilience by Glenn R. Schiraldi, Ph.D.

Your Navy Chaplain: Focused on “Every Sailor, Every Day”

By: Rear Adm. Margaret Grun Kibben, Chief of Navy Chaplains

Like a family, shipmates have an obligation to look out for each other, to look out for Every Sailor, Every Day.” While September is identified as Suicide chapPrevention Month, every day, day in and day out, we must direct our efforts to prevent the deaths of our Sailors, Civilians and all our family members.

Often when people think about suicide, it’s because they feel isolated and alone, as if no one will listen to them. I ask each of you to break the silence and start the conversation if you notice someone going through a difficult time. By engaging with your shipmates with the simple question, “Are you doing ok?” you are giving that person permission to reach out and ask for help. You are helping that person realize they are not alone. By really listening to their response, you also remind them that people do care about them and will care if something happens to them.

But it isn’t just about other people. Frankly, all of us have heard that message loud and clear and most of us are on the lookout for people who seem to be at their wit’s end. I’m more concerned about those of you who aren’t letting anyone in on your feelings of despair, isolation, or crushing pain. Please hear this message: it should never be a matter of taking your life but taking control of your life. All of us, no matter where we are in our lives, will encounter stress that can feel incredibly overwhelming. I encourage each of you to consider your own self-care and to take the steps now to build your own resilience to help navigate the stress that will inevitably come your way. And that means things like staying connected to your family, your shipmates, and the resources available to you. Knowing that we are not facing life’s challenges alone can help reduce stress levels before they ever develop into a personal crisis. But when it does, it means having the courage to say something to someone – to break YOUR silence – when you’ve lost control of your life and you need help.

As chaplains, we are committed to being where it matters, when it matters, with what matters. We help people reconnect with their sources for hope. That’s really our whole reason for being. We are here to make sure you have some place safe to go where you have absolute confidentiality to share your concerns or fears when things seem out of your control. You talk, and we’ll listen. If you just want to sit and not say anything, we’ll remain by your side. Chaplains will help you tap into your spiritual foundation or whatever keeps you grounded. And when you’re ready, chaplains will help you connect with the right resources and get you the help you need. Remember, our commitment is to you.

We are a team, the Navy Team. Together, we can make a difference in someone’s life – your life.

Contact your command chaplain to learn more about your right to absolute confidentiality with a chaplain. Don’t know who your nearest chaplain is? Call 1-855-NAVY-311 to be connected with a chaplain.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911. If you or someone you know is in crisis, help is just a call or click away. Call the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK (option 1) or visit

For more information on the Navy’s ongoing efforts for suicide prevention, visit