The Navy & Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) Department and the Navy Suicide Prevention Branch (OPNAV N171) will be hosting a webinar on suicide prevention on 30 August 2016 at 1200 EST. This webinar, entitled “Every Sailor, Every Day Starts with YOU: Understanding Evidence-Based Intervention Tools for Sailors at Risk of Suicide,” will focus on the many ways that local advocates can work together to promote a supportive command climate that integrates tools for physical and psychological health. Speakers will foster understanding of Navy’s evidence-based efforts in prevention and intervention, and focus on the following objectives:
- Discuss the ways in which local advocates and program managers can be leaders in suicide prevention.
- Promote understanding and application of Navy’s evidence-based prevention and intervention resources.
- Empower culture change through collaboration, education, and action.
Navy Suicide Prevention Branch encourages all suicide prevention coordinators (SPCs) and personnel who have frequent contact with at-risk Sailors to attend. Register by this Thursday, August 25th at https://survey.max.gov/933674. You must have a Common Access Card 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! For materials and resources to jumpstart local efforts at your command, download the new 1 Small ACT Toolkit and look out for new content here on the NavyNavStress Blog in September and throughout the upcoming fiscal year.
Posted in 1 Small ACT, Suicide Prevention
Tagged Health Promotion and Wellness, intervention, intervention tools, mental health, Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, Operational Stress Control, physical health, Psychological Health, Suicide, suicide prevention, suicide prevention month, suicide prevention webinar, webinar
Editor’s Note: The following is a guest blog post provided courtesy of the Real Warriors Campaign. More information and tools are available at www.realwarriors.net.
Experiences such as traumatic events during your military career can lead to questioning your values and trying to make sense of what happened. Spirituality can help you cope by connecting you to something bigger than yourself. For some, it may be a relationship with your unit, family or nature. For others, it may be a relationship with a Higher Power and religious practices. However you express it, spirituality can create values and beliefs to give life meaning.
Benefits of Spirituality
Spirituality can help you cope with stress in all stages of military life. For example, through meditation or prayer, you may feel at peace and find more purpose in life. It can:
- Increase happiness
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Strengthen the bond of your unit
- Promote a positive outlook
- Mend feelings of moral injury
- Strengthen personal relationships
- Maintain healthy lifestyle choices
Spiritual Fitness Tips
Spirituality can play a key role in your well-being. Try these tips to boost your daily routine:
- Share thoughts and questions with others who have similar beliefs
- Take part in creative arts, such as painting, music or writing
- Embrace the outdoors. Go for walks, hikes, swims or runs to connect with the world around you
- Read about spiritual teachings
- Find a regular religious service or practice that works for you
- Think positively
- Practice mindfulness or yoga
What Line Leaders Can Do
With good leadership, spirituality can lead to unity. As a line leader, you can:
- Have your unit members take a Spiritual Fitness Assessment [PDF 267KB]. Follow up with a post-assessment review that your service provides.
- Provide equal support for service members with different spiritual practices. For example, allow time to practice Tai Chi or attend religious service.
- Work with chaplains to help unit members cope with psychological health concerns.
- Give service members chances to share their spirituality with peers.
About 700 military chaplains across all military branches are ready and available to help service members become or stay spiritually fit. Call Military OneSource at 800-362-9647 to find the chaplain nearest you.
- Department of Defense health related behaviors survey [PDF 1.91MB]. (2011, February). Defense Department.
- Hufford, D., Fritts, M., & Rhodes, J. (2010, August). Spiritual fitness [PDF 5.4MB]. Military Medicine, 175(8), S73-87.
- Maguen, S., & Litz, B. (2012). Moral injury in veterans of war [PDF 1.2MB]. PTSD Research Quarterly, 23(1).
- Spirituality. (n.d.). Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Rear Admiral Sean S. Buck
Director, 21st Century Sailor Office
U.S. Navy Photo/Released
During my nearly 30 years of service in our Navy, it’s safe to say that I’ve encountered my fair share of stress—both operational and personal. No matter the source, there was always something that I could count on to help me navigate, see things clearly, and keep an even keel; the camaraderie and cohesion I shared with my fellow Sailors.
As a leader, I’ve had to learn to “bounce back” from adversity as soon as possible in order to maintain my ability to look out for my Sailors and guide our mission. But as we’ve learned this month, the difference between bouncing back and thriving is one’s sense of community—I didn’t bounce back on my own; I had support. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned about community is that you have to take care of yourself in order to help those that depend on you. Having the strength to seek help has to be something you can identify within before you can truly encourage others to do the same. Yet the courage to accept help is where it begins. Our natural inclination as service members is to give and not receive. But when we can find a way to do both—encouraging our shipmates to speak up about their stressors, and also speaking up about our own—we’ve evolved. The smallest action can have a rippling impact and we must all lead by example.
September may be coming to a close, but our efforts to help one another navigate stress, build resilience and thrive will continue. As we wrap up Suicide Prevention Month, take a moment to read about the impressive efforts that took place in our Navy over the past few weeks. I have an immense sense of pride knowing that I serve with Sailors who truly look out for and support their shipmates through calm and rough seas. Honor, courage and commitment at their finest.
- Joint Intelligence Center, Central Command Unit 0274 partnered with personnel from Information Dominance Corps East to contribute to a Habitat for Humanity Project benefiting the Jacksonville, FL community.
- Sailors assigned to the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Ford (FFG 54) organized a suicide awareness run. Sailors who participated in the event ran a cumulative 32 miles, one mile for each suicide in the Navy this year.
- Navy Warfare Development Command held a Suicide Prevention and Awareness Run, encouraging non-runners to sponsor runners. Sponsors agreed to receive suicide prevention and stress navigation awareness resources in exchange for their endorsement, and the runner with the most sponsors received special recognition.
- Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic developed a wall in the break room for Sailors and leaders to post a compliment to a fellow shipmate for all to see as small tokens of appreciation.
These are just a few of the many efforts around the fleet helping us “thrive in our communities.” Thank you for your dedication to one another, and please keep up the great work.
About the Author
Rear Admiral Sean S. Buck is the Director of the 21st Century Sailor Office, OPNAV N17. Read his full biography here.
For more examples of “Thrive in Your Community” engagement, follow @NavStress on Facebook (www.facebook.com/navstress) or visit the Suicide Prevention Month webpage on www.suicide.navy.mil.
If you, your shipmate or a loved one is having trouble navigating stress or experiencing a crisis, help is always available 24/7. Call the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK and select option 1.
Posted in Leadership, OSC, Resilience, Suicide Prevention
Tagged ACT, Community, Navigating Stress, Operational Stress Control, Sailors, suicide prevention, suicide prevention month, US Navy