Tag Archives: US Navy

Our Efforts to Thrive Continue

US Navy Photo/Released

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 21
st 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.

Thriving, Not Just Surviving

Trust, one of the 5 Principles of Resilience, plays a critical role in withstanding adversity. It is built through experience and communication, not only on individual levels, but on the part of leaders and larger organizations as well. Starting a conversation about stress and the value of seeking help encourages people to feel comfortable discussing challenges, building trust between shipmates and leaders. Together we can help each other thrive, not just survive.
–NavyNavStress.com Note


I’d like all hands to view this courageous video by PRC Kelsey – an active duty Chief who has voluntarily placed his life story in front of us all.

Look my friends, life is a gift.  It is precious.  No matter what or how bad things may seem, there is always an answer that compels us to choose LIFE and embrace the goodness of this gift, forever.

Some may say:  We always don’t have a warning.  What do we do?

We have to build TRUST with our people—ALL our people, Civilians, Sailors, Officers alike—so that when things are going wrong, we can intervene with every resource the Navy has to bear.  And we have A LOT.

We have to ENGAGE with our people—know their spouses, their families, their plans, their life’s dreams and goals, so we can catch them if and when they fall.

We ARE our sister’s and our brother’s keeper.  And we ARE a family.

Bottom line, no one is going to do this but US.  I need your minds and hearts in the game.  Know your Sailors.  Division Officers and Branch Officers, move your desks in the shops and know your people.  To lead in this warfighting profession, you have to love (and I know of no better word to describe this action) those under your stewardship.  Be a servant leader.  Get out there and lead from the front.

VR/ CAPT Steve Deal

About the Author
Captain Steve Deal,
Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TEN, will be headed to Tennessee in early November to take the lead as Director, OPNAV N17 Millington, 21st Century Sailor Office. Recently, during a Personal Readiness Summit at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Capt. Deal had the honor of hearing Chief Kelsey’s story first hand. The impact of his story was immediately felt command-wide; leading Capt. Deal to publish the above message on the CPRW-10 Commodore’s Blog , bringing conversations about seeking help to the forefront and reinforcing a sense of community.  Capt. Deal’s efforts mark the essence of caring leadership, upholding suicide prevention as an all hands evolution.

For more information on Navy Suicide Prevention Month, click here.

And the winner is…

The moment many of you have been waiting for is here! After receiving nineteen entries from small Seabee Units, Naval hospitals and clinics, Navy Operations Support Centers, CSADD Chapters and even aircraft carriers, the winners of the 2012 Suicide Prevention Public Service Announcement Contest have been chosen! With so many quality entries, it was hard to select just a single “best.” The three winning submissions are…

Navy Suicide Prevention PSA There is Hope

There is Hope – The team from the USS Ronald Reagan Media Department (CVN 76) did an outstanding job of addressing the many risk factors for suicide, illustrating that it’s never the result of a single event or factor. Relationship and/or financial problems, stress, anxiety, and uncertainty are all potential risk factors for suicidal behavior, particularly when combined with feelings of hopelessness. The video highlights these stressors while ending in a positive light by emphasizing that helping someone to realize that there is hope can also help them see that Life is Worth Living.

Navy Suicide Prevention PSA Find Your Light

Find Your Light – Leave it to CSADD to depict such a strong message with extraordinary creativity! The Save Our Sailors Chapter of the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions Naval Medical Center San Diego again highlighted the negative perceptions that contribute to suicidal thoughts, as well as other risk factors like alcohol abuse. Illustrating the message “It’s Okay to Speak up When You’re Down,” when a Shipmate took the time to ACT, the distressed Sailors saw that their lives and stressors mattered to someone. Furthermore, the Sailors realized that someone cared enough to help them get assistance to address these issues so that they could again believe that Life is Worth Living.

Don’t Weight! It’s Okay to Speak Up When You’re Down. – This entry was filmed entirely with a Smartphone! The Navy Operational Support Center San Antonio team has a great grasp on the weight that life’s challenges can have on us, and how our responsibilities may keep us from believing that we can speak up when we’re down. The video interweaves suicide prevention resources, a visual definition of ACT, while again reinforcing that Sailors take care of Sailors.

Winners are now available for viewing by clicking the above links. They will also air on Direct to Sailor television aboard Navy ships, reaching a potential Navy and Marine Corps audience of over 145,000 daily, and will be provided to the American Forces Network and Pentagon Channel.

Bravo Zulu to all entrants! Each submission showed an immense amount of thought, time, energy and effort in promoting lives worth living among fellow Sailors. Share the winning PSA’s with your command, family and friends!

For official announcement of contest winners, visit navy.mil

For more information on the Suicide Prevention Public Service Announcement Contest, reference NAVADMIN 218/12.

For more information on Navy Suicide Prevention visit www.suicide.navy.mil

For confidential 24/7 help call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK, option 1.

When to Take Stress Seriously

Laughter is good medicine for stress relief…but knowing which resources are appropriate when your shipmate is in distress may save a life. Trying to maintain a positive outlook and taking a moment to smile and laugh is a good practice to get from the yellow zone back to the green. However, when stressors start to pile up and have a more serious impact on our lives, professional treatment and resources may be necessary.

If your shipmate expresses thoughts of hopelessness, purposelessness, or despair, take it seriously. These statements may be subtle warning signs of potentially harmful behavior. Even if you think he or she is joking or speaking casually, statements expressing thoughts of suicide are serious. Familiarize yourself with the resources and ACT. Ask if the Sailor is thinking about suicide. Show that you Care. Don’t wait to get him or her to Treatment to receive the proper assistance (take them to the Chaplain, to medical or the ER. If immediate danger is present, call 911). And always support your shipmate by following up and checking to see how things are going–maybe a good laugh will help him or her return to a positive hopeful outlook on life.

Cartoon illustrated by Jeff Bacon, creator of Broadside for Navy Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

For more information on Navy Suicide Prevention Awareness month, visit www.suicide.navy.mil.

For reference, see Navy Suicide Prevention’s The Truth About Sailors and Suicide.

For 24/7 assistance, call the Veterans’ Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), option 1 or go to www.veteranscrisisline.net

What’s in a Word? How we Talk About Suicide

At some point as a child, an adult probably told you “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,” or “actions speak louder than words.” Those phrases take on new meaning when we’re discussing the topic of suicide.

Openly discussing suicide is beneficial for prevention, intervention and postvention. It sends the message that it’s not only acceptable to discuss this sensitive subject, but encouraged as a way to show support to Sailors having difficulty navigating stress on their own. But, the way we discuss it and the words we use can actually have the opposite effect if we’re not aware of best practices. Word choice can make the difference between encouraging help-seeking behavior or contributing to a Sailor’s dwindling perception of his or her life. Sometimes, our actions (being supportive, ACTing) and our words are equally important.

To support the concept of “reducing barriers,” the theme of the final week of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, fact sheets on best practices for talking about suicide are available on www.suicide.navy.mil. The information sheet, “What’s In a Word? How We Talk About Suicide,” provides guidance on responsibly discussing suicide and what to avoid: judgmental language, glamorizing deaths by suicide, oversimplifying causes, etc. Sailors, Suicide Prevention Coordinators, leaders, families and friends should become familiar with these practices to help change the culture and reduce barriers when it comes to seeking help. A version of the document will also be available for the Public Affairs and broadcast media community, to ensure responsible reporting and mitigate risk of suicide contagion (subsequent suicides following certain reporting styles).

A simple change in words, like calling an attempt non-fatal instead of “unsuccessful,” can make a difference. By knowing how to talk about suicide, and knowing when to ACT, we can continue to encourage our shipmates that “it’s okay to speak up when you’re down!”

For Suicide Prevention Awareness Month details, reference NAVADMIN 259/12, visit www.suicide.navy.mil or email caroline.miles.ctr@navy.mil