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    NAS Sigonella Dedicates to Suicide Prevention

    In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th, the Naval Air Station Sigonella Chaplains and Suicide Prevention Team hosted an awareness event at the Ristorante Bella Etna Galley, providing people with information on how to seek help for themselves and for others, as well as general information on mental health.

    While September is Suicide Prevention Month, the goal is for suicide prevention to be an every day, every person mission set.

    This year’s theme “aligns with the Navy’s Culture of Excellence (COE) approach by highlighting the importance of connectedness in supporting every Sailor, every day, and integrating Defense Suicide Prevention Office’s (DSPO) call-to-action ‘Connect to Protect.’ Connectedness is a key protective factor against suicide,” according to the “1 Small Act” toolkit.

    “During the month of September we take a pause to highlight some of the leading causes of suicidal behavior and suicidal ideations,” said NAS Sigonella Command Suicide Prevention Specialist Chief Master-at-Arms Andre Billingsley. “We provide information leading to programs that can assist in combating suicidal behaviors and recommend resources for those who are suffering from suicidal ideations. It is our hope that we can prevent anyone from even thinking that suicide is an option when dealing with their emotional distress.”

    Participants at the event were invited to fill out “I Will” posters declaring what they would do when confronted with someone who is struggling with thoughts of suicide or they themselves are struggling.

    “I have lost both friends and family members to suicide, nothing can fill the void that we feel when a loved one takes their own life,” said Billingsley. “I think about how much those people meant to me, how much I miss them and how I wish that I could have been there to stop them from taking their own lives. I think about what I could have done, what help I could have sought out for them and how we could have made things better for them, together.”

    Many factors can influence our mental health, including stress at work, deaths of family members, mental illnesses, and more. Fears surrounding the novel coronavirus, as well as precautions such as social distancing, can also lead to feelings of isolation and depression.

    “While [people struggling with thoughts of suicide] say they would reach out to people who are close to them first, these same people also have fears about what people will think or say if they meet with a psychologist, counselor, or chaplain,” explains Lt. Ryan Albano, Chaplain. “They believe that people will think there is something wrong with them.”

    The base offers many avenues of help for anyone who is struggling with not only depression and thoughts of suicide, but stress and other emotional issues.

    Chaplains are available for non-medical counseling, and both the mental health department at the U.S. Naval Hospital Sigonella and Fleet and Family Support Center provide counseling services as well.

    “I do understand that the world tends to be more of a burden on some more than others; I just ask that before you think of taking your own life, reach out, communicate and get the help before you act on those emotions,” said Billingsley.

    The suicide prevention team is also looking for committed members who would like to help.

    “Anyone who would like to be a member of the Suicide Prevention Team can contact me at DSN 624-7142 or email me at,” explains Billingsley. “After the training processes are complete, individuals can be added to the official Suicide Prevent Team and contribute year round to prevention measures promoted by the U.S. Navy.”



    Date Taken: 09.18.2020
    Date Posted: 09.21.2020 07:44
    Story ID: 378219
    Location: SIGONELLA, IT 

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