Tag Archives: ACT

Upcoming Webinar: “From Awareness to Action: Lessons Learned from Navy’s Annual Cross Disciplinary Case Reviews”

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Recognizing the factors that may increase suicide risk—such as barriers to seeking help, experiencing multiple or worsening stressors, declining self-care, rage and easy access to lethal means—is an important step toward taking actions that can save lives. Each year, Navy Suicide Prevention Branch (OPNAV N171) works with experts from across the Department of Defense to take a deep dive into individual Navy suicides that occurred two years prior, examining all available information, reports and records. These Cross Disciplinary Case Reviews enable experts to piece together a clearer picture of the circumstances surrounding each Sailor’s death and produce recommendations to close gaps, strengthen current efforts and shape future initiatives.

In observance of Suicide Prevention Month, OPNAV N171 and Navy & Marine Corps Public Health Center’s (NMCPHC) Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) Department will co-host a webinar, “From Awareness to Action: Lessons Learned from Navy’s Annual Cross Disciplinary Case Reviews.” Join us on September 12, 2017 from 1200-1300 EST for a discussion on what you can do prevent suicide, promote belongingness and encourage well-being year-round. Speakers, including OPNAV N171’s Clinical Psychologist, will foster an understanding of Cross Disciplinary Case Review findings and available evidence-based tools, enabling participants to:

  • Identify the leading risk factors and warning signs present in recent Navy suicides, and proactively intervene when recognizing these signs in themselves or others;
  • Take appropriate action as leaders, suicide prevention coordinators, health promotion coordinators and gatekeepers to foster command climates supportive of psychological health;
  • Incorporate new and updated resources to strengthen local suicide prevention programs and promote collaboration; and
  • Engage with 2017 Navy Suicide Prevention Month and Fiscal Year 2018 (FY-18) Every Sailor, Every Day campaign efforts.

This webinar is intended for leaders, suicide prevention coordinators, health promotion coordinators and gatekeepers who have frequent contact with at-risk Sailors (chaplains, providers, first responders, legal staff, etc.).

Register by day, date at https://survey.max.gov/933674. You must have a Common Access Card (CAC) to register for and attend this webinar. For more information, visit the HPW Webinars web page.

Navy Suicide Prevention Month is right around the corner! This September and throughout FY-18, OPNAV N171’s Every Sailor, Every Day campaign will be focusing on ways to help you identify risk factors, take action and practice everyday ways to be there for yourself and others, based on the 1 Small ACT message. For materials and resources to jumpstart local efforts at your command, visit www.suicide.navy.mil > Every Sailor, Every Day > Get Involved, look out for new content here on the NavyNavStress Blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Together, we can make a difference. Be there for Every Sailor, Every Day.

Supporting Your Shipmate’s PCS Move

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Like any transition, permanent change of station (PCS) moves can be exciting, frustrating and stressful all at once. Recently, Navy announced that Sailors and their families can continue to expect shortened lead times for PCS moves through the end of the fiscal year: approximately two months or less.  This unpredictability can make the transition more challenging than usual, which is why it’s more important than ever to be there for your shipmates. Here’s what you can do:

During the “waiting period:”

The stress of not knowing can start to spill over into other areas of your shipmate’s life and lead them to feel overwhelmed or powerless. Small acts can help your shipmate regain predictability and controllability even without the firm details. Offer to help them get a head start on the things that they can tackle now, such as packing out of season clothing or taking inventory of rented household goods to expedite the return process. Even while waiting on official orders it’s a good idea to suggest that your shipmate reach out to their new command to connect with their sponsor as soon as possible. If their sponsor hasn’t yet been identified, offer to link your buddy with someone who’s navigated a short-notice move before and can share some helpful hints. Emotions can run high during any move and at times your shipmate may feel as if they’re the only one who’s going through this stress. Connecting with and learning from others who have been there can make the reality seem less daunting, along with practicing a few strategies to think positively.

Once orders are in-hand:

Ask what you can do, whether it’s packing or lending an ear. If your shipmate seems to have it all under control, it’s still important to pay attention to even the smallest signs of distress. Perhaps you’re already aware of relationship and/or family issues, financial strain, uncertainty about the new job, or other issues. These situations can intensify when facing major changes and may worsen if left unchecked. Encourage your shipmate to speak with someone who can help them work through things, such as a chaplain, leader or BeThere peer support counselor. Getting support early is vital to ensuring that stressors don’t turn into crises, especially when starting a new chapter in life.

During the move:

Stay connected so that your shipmate doesn’t lose the protection that a sense of community provides. Be sure to exchange updated contact information, ask about plans (travel dates, pit stops, arrival dates, etc.) and check in often. When you check in with your shipmate, nudge them to get adequate rest (seven to eight hours, supplementing deficits with brief naps), eat balanced even when on the go (fruits, veggies, lean protein and water), and take breaks to enjoy the journey.

If you notice signs of distress:

Leaving a familiar environment—especially quickly—can disrupt daily routines and social networks, increasing the likelihood of risky decision-making. If you are concerned about your shipmate, ACT immediately. You can call the Military Crisis Line on behalf of your shipmate to get them connected to services in their area.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to others to help connect the dots, such as your shipmate’s receiving command or a family member to help facilitate the intervention process if a potentially serious situation is evolving.

Staying connected not only helps to restore predictability and controllability; it promotes trust, strengthens Relationships and helps your shipmate find Meaning in challenges. It’s about being there for Every Sailor, Every Day.

Every Sailor, Every Day Starts with YOU

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September is Navy Suicide Prevention Month. The 21st Century Sailor Office’s Suicide Prevention Branch, OPNAV N171, has the resources you need to get ACTively involved in supporting yourself and others this month and throughout the year. 1 Small ACT will remain the Every Sailor, Every Day campaign’s primary message, encouraging simple actions that can make differences in others’ lives while leveraging relationships between peers and community members.

Every Sailor, Every Day doesn’t just apply to those in uniform. Research indicates that immediate family members are more likely to notice behavioral changes and stress reactions in Sailors, including those that may be less obvious to peers and leaders. No matter how minor the stress reaction may seem, ACT (Ask, Care, Treat) and start the conversation with your Sailor early to open the door for proactive intervention and support. 1 Small ACT—being there to listen, encouraging use of professional resources, and promoting health and safety at home—can lead to one big step in the right direction.

One of the many reasons service members may not seek help for mental health concerns is fear that doing so will jeopardize their clearance eligibility and careers. You can help spread the truth. Emphasize that less than one percent of security clearance denials and revocations involve psychological health concerns. In fact, seeking help to promote personal wellness and recovery may favorably impact a person’s security clearance eligibility. Remember, counseling and treatment for adjustments related to military service in a combat environment, marital or family concerns (unrelated to violence committed by the service member), grief, and sexual assault victimization do not need to be reported when answering Question 21 on the Questionnaire for National Security Positions (SF 86). Seeking help is a sign of strength and help exists in many forms, including Fleet and Family Support Centers, the Military Crisis Line, Military One Source and Navy chaplains. Navy chaplains offer 100% confidential support and cannot be compelled by the command, medical professionals or others to disclose what a service member or family member shares in confidence.

During day-to-day conversation, make stress and psychological health an active part of your family’s dialogue. When possible, enjoy a meal together as a family without distraction. Mealtime is an opportunity to bond and engage with loved ones by sharing experiences, offering support and improving communication. Research indicates that sharing meals as a family benefits emotional health and connectedness, and is linked with decreased risk-taking and destructive behavior. Another way to promote health and safety at home is to ensure that privately-owned firearms are stored unloaded, in a locked safe or cabinet and secured with a gunlock. These simple steps can not only help prevent injury among children in the household, but are proven ways to prevent suicide when loved ones are experiencing stress and psychological health concerns, placing them at increased risk.

While suicide prevention is an ongoing effort, this month’s observance is the perfect time to encourage your family to take care of themselves and each other during calm and rough seas. You can set an example by participating in the 1 Small ACT Photo Gallery on our Navy Operational Stress Control Page (www.facebook.com/navstress). Download the new “Small ACT Selfie” sign from www.suicide.navy.mil, personalize it with an example of a small act that you and/or your family can take to make a difference, snap a photo with you and/or your family holding the sign, and email it to us at navysuicideprevention@gmail.com for uploading in the gallery. Like us on Facebook to share your photo—and all of our resources—with your friends and family.

For more resources to navigate stress as a family and be there for every Sailor, every day, bookmark Navy Suicide Prevention’s webpage, subscribe to our blog, like us on and follow us on Twitter.

1 Small ACT can save a life. It starts with you.

Leading By Example: Small ACTs can Make a Difference in Your Life, too

1SA BlogWhile September—Suicide Prevention Month—may be over, our work to promote healthy stress navigation and proactive support continues 365 days a year. We introduced the “1 Small ACT” message to encourage simple ways to make a difference to every Sailor, every day. That commitment starts at the individual level through leading by example and taking care of your own physical and psychological health. Here are a few Small ACTs to help you build a journey toward personal wellness:

  • Personalize Your Stress Navigation Plan. Just as you would program a sober buddy’s number in your phone to avoid getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, you should take a moment to proactively identify who you’d reach out to and what you will do when you encounter stress and adversity. Take a moment to fill out your Stress Navigation Plan (available here) to help you list your practices for safely navigating stress, and store it in an easily accessible place so that you can be more prepared during life’s inevitable stressful moments. Encourage your shipmates and family to develop their plan as well.
  • Build up to a regular fitness regimen to combat stress. Not getting in your recommended two hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per week? Stop creating excuses and take small steps to build healthy habits. To help you get fit from the inside out, try breaking up your physical activity on busy days. Even a 20 minute run around your building or the deck, or a few sets of lunges each hour in your workspace, can increase endorphins, the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters that play a vital role in navigating stress.
  • Swap one “junk food” item with one healthy choice each day. It’s not just about your waistline. Without proper nutrition, your brain cannot adequately communicate with the rest of your body, which can lead to changes in mood. Choosing one healthy swap per day gives you an opportunity to discover whole foods that still satisfy your craving, and may progress to bigger long-term changes. If you’re a burger lover, try using salmon instead of ground beef. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon can help keep cortisol and adrenaline levels in check, helping to keep you calm after a stressful event.
  • Give thanks. Expressions of gratitude have been linked to greater goal achievement, improved physical health and even an improved ability to navigate memories of traumatic events. Try giving three sincere compliments or reminders of appreciation each day. We feel our best when we help others feel their best as well. After a few days, you may notice that others seem more motivated and connected, and you may feel the same.

The simple possibilities are endless. Whether you decide to make a conscious effort to get more sleep, communicate better with your family, be a more approachable leader or speak with a chaplain to help work through challenges, your actions can motivate your shipmates. When it comes to breaking down the barriers that may prevent others from taking steps toward better health, the Small ACTs we take can have a ripple effect. Check out more creative ways Sailors and members of the Navy community are choosing to support themselves and others in the 1 Small ACT Photo Gallery. Post your 1 Small ACT today—submissions will be accepted through Aug. 31, 2016!

Reprogram Your Drinking Habits to Promote Health, Well-being and Safety

LifeLink April 2015April brings several key areas of focus for the Navy to the forefront, and among those topics is alcohol awareness. Alcohol misuse can affect all aspects of our lives—from health and well-being, to social connections, physical and emotional safety, and mission readiness. As we mark the two-year anniversary of Navy’s flagship responsible drinking campaign, Keep What You’ve Earned, here are a few suggestions to help you and your shipmates adopt or maintain healthy drinking habits and promote healthy decision making.

Don’t rely on alcohol to reduce your stress. When encountering stress, if we’re unable to respond adaptively while our bodies are in “fight or flight” mode, the likelihood that we’ll make potentially unhealthy choices to ease that tension increases. Having a drink or two to unwind after a stressful day may seem harmless, but this habit is actually working against you and can lead to long-term physical and psychological health effects, including addictive or destructive behavior. Instead of immediately reaching for a drink, try turning to healthy habits. If you’re more likely to make a “pit stop” on the way home from work, head to the gym instead. Endorphins released during exercise can actually improve your mood—a true happy hour! If trying to de-stress with alcohol has become a common practice for you, it’s probably time to self-refer for assistance. Talk to your Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor (DAPA), chaplain, doctor, or command leadership about where to get help.

Empower yourself to thrive during adversity. To help you explore and identify your resources for making healthy decisions during stressful times, take a moment to fill out your Stress Navigation Plan, available on www.suicide.navy.mil. This simple proactive tool helps you think about your current practices for navigating stress while you’re still emotionally and physically healthy. In the process, you may be able to identify more positive coping strategies than what you currently turn to, avoiding potentially destructive behavior like alcohol abuse.

Exercise controllability and plan ahead. As the winter weather is giving way to warmer temperatures, social calendars will start to fill with cookouts and parties. While you’re making your party plans, make plans for a safe ride home your priority by ensuring that a shipmate, friend or family member will be your designated driver. Designated drivers need to completely abstain from drinking—buzzed driving is drunk driving too. Programming the number to a local taxi service in your mobile phone is always a good backup plan. Controllability is one of the Principles of Resilience, helping you make proactive choices and minimize potential for stress or negative outcomes.

Be an active bystander. April also marks Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Approximately half of all sexual assaults involve alcohol consumption by perpetrator, victim or both, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Staying alert, engaged and looking out for your shipmates can not only prevent alcohol abuse, but can prevent sexual assault as well. If you recognize a potentially negative situation, you have the power to speak up and intervene before an incident occurs.

For more information on how you can encourage responsible drinking, visit www.nadap.navy.mil. For additional stress navigation tips to support every Sailor, every day, visit navstress.wordpress.com.