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    NAS Pensacola Observing Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month

    NAS Pensacola Observing Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month

    Photo By Jason Bortz | Sailors at Naval Air Station Pensacola Navy attend an event observing Suicide...... read more read more



    Story by Jason Bortz 

    Naval Air Station Pensacola

    By Carolyn Gray, NAS Pensacola, Public Affairs Office

    September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness month. To raise awareness, promote prevention and save lives, the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola provided a “1 Small Act” training event at the Naval Aviation Schools Command (NASC) auditorium Sept. 5. Speakers from Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC), EscaRosa Suicide Prevention Coalition and Religious Ministries spoke to over 400 students and service members that attended the event.

    Military life can be stressful for service members and their families. Everyone reacts to stress and traumatic experiences differently and some may feel angry or isolated. People coping with these concerns may feel like there is no escape from their stressors leading them to having thoughts of suicide.

    Legalman Senior Chief Petty Officer Erica Queely has been the suicide prevention coordinator for NAS Pensacola for 12 months. During her 19-year naval career, she has seen her share of suicide situations.

    “Every small act shows that we care. We care by showing concern, by getting involved and by supporting our fellow sailors,” said Queely.

    In a report released by the Defense Suicide Prevention office, 325 service members were killed by suicide in 2018, 58 Marines, 68 Sailors, 60 Airmen, and 139 Soldiers. The report indicates an increase of 40 deaths from the previous year.

    “Over the past 10 years, I’ve noticed an overall increase in suicides within the Navy,” said Capt. Timothy Kinsella Jr., commanding officer, NAS Pensacola. “Suicide in the Navy has reached epidemic proportions and it has become critical that we educate our Sailors of the importance of caring for each other and asking for help when needed.”

    According to the National Action for Suicide Prevention and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, for every person who dies by suicide annually, there are another 280 people who have thought seriously about suicide and nearly 60 who have survived a suicide attempt.

    “There are some common factors as well as issues within society that contribute to the ideations of suicide,” said Cmdr. Bryan Crittendon, chaplain, NAS Pensacola. “A service member may be concerned with the stress of failing in their command, school or with just striving to be an outstanding Sailor or Marine. And sometimes our military men and women bring their stressors from home, prior to joining the military.”

    The Military Crisis Line connects those in need to a trained counselor with a single phone call or click of a mouse. This confidential, immediate help is available 24/7 at no cost to active duty, Guard and reserve members, their families and friends. Contact the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, then press 1, or access online chat by texting 838255.

    Considering suicide as the solution to any problem can and should be avoided. #BeThe1To is the Military Crisis Line’s message highlighting the importance of an “all hands on deck” approach to suicide prevention. Everyone has a part to play and sometimes, that part may be as simple as just listening.

    The five action steps for communicating with someone who may be suicidal are supported by evidence in the field of suicide prevention.
    ASK: Asking the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates that you’re open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way. Never promise to keep someone’s suicidal thoughts a secret.

    KEEP THEM SAFE: After the “Ask” step, and you’ve determined suicide is indeed being talked about, it’s important to find out a few things to establish immediate safety. Have they already done anything to try to kill themselves before talking with you? Does the person experiencing thoughts of suicide know how they would kill themselves? Knowing the answers to each of these questions can tell us a lot about the imminence and severity of danger the person is in.

    BE THERE: This could mean being physically present for someone, speaking with them on the phone when you can or any other way that shows support for the person at risk. An important aspect of this step is to make sure you follow through with the ways in which you say you’ll be able to support the person – do not commit to anything you are not willing or able to accomplish. Being there for someone with thoughts of suicide is life-saving.

    HELP THEM CONNECT: Helping someone with thoughts of suicide connect with ongoing support (like the Lifeline, 800-273-8255) can help them establish a safety net for those moments they find themselves in a crisis. Additional components of a safety net might be connecting them with supports and resources in their communities.

    FOLLOW UP: After your initial contact with a person experiencing thoughts of suicide, and after you’ve connected them with the immediate support systems they need, make sure to follow-up with them to see how they’re doing. Leave a message, send a text, or give them a call.

    On Tuesday, Sept 17 at 2:00 pm, Lady of Loreto Chapel will host a candlelight vigil. This vigil is a powerful way for people to come together as a community and honor those who have struggled or continue to struggle with suicide. There will be beneficial information on suicide prevention and time for people to reflect on their experiences. Candles and other interactive means will be offered to represent friends, family members, and loved ones who struggle with suicide.

    Those attending are invited to bring a picture of their loved one(s) to contribute to a collage as a sign of remembrance (please bring copies of original photos as the Chapel wishes to respectfully retain the collage). This event is open to all military service members, civilian employees and their families onboard NAS Pensacola.

    Together we can prevent suicide by learning to help ourselves, help others, seek consultation from trained providers (hotlines & clinicians) and seek hospital care when necessary.



    Date Taken: 09.10.2019
    Date Posted: 09.10.2019 16:00
    Story ID: 339377
    Location: US

    Web Views: 70
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    NAS Pensacola Observing Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month