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    USS Gerald R. Ford Raises Awareness for Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month

    Chas Foundation 5k

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Kallysta M Castillo | Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Tiffany Tisdale, front, from Apache,...... read more read more

    VA, UNITED STATES

    09.14.2021

    Story by Seaman Apprentice Zachary Guth 

    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)     

    September is the final month before the beginning of the traditional holiday season. Historically, stress levels can be elevated during this time of year as individuals worry about things such as money for gifts and elaborate meals or even keeping their homes warm and particularly for Sailors - being away from home and family.
    September is also Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month - a time to reflect on stress management skills, improving mental health and suicide prevention and the Sailors of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) have a whole team dedicated to just that, led by Chief Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) Dillion Coffman from Sherman, Texas.
    “September is the month for spreading awareness to prevent any more suicides that unfortunately happen every day in our military and Navy,” said Coffman,, assigned to reactor department and Ford’s command suicide prevention coordinator. “Connect to protect. If you see someone having a hard time or in a difficult situation, connect with them to let them know you are there for them.”
    Ford’s suicide prevention team want Sailors to know that they have several resources at their disposal to help cope with any stress or hardships that they may be going through.
    “We know that mental health issues are fairly common, especially in the U.S. military,” said Aviation Electronics’ Technician 1st Class Tiffany Tisdale, from Apache, Oklahoma, assigned to Ford’s aviation maintenance department and the command’s assistant command suicide prevention coordinator. “This month is about letting people know that they have many options to seek help and find a way to move forward.”
    One unique option available to military members during the holiday season is a local family outreach program for those who are unable to travel home or have no one to spend their holiday with.
    “One of the ways that we try to alleviate holiday stress during Thanksgiving is through a family outreach program that lets single Sailors eat at a home with a member of the local community,” said Coffman. “We have a chair just for you, and this month lets us raise awareness of that.”
    Tisdale said she joined the suicide prevention team to help educate those at the command about stigmas that surround mental health and to help those who may be seeking help.
    “There is still this huge stigma of people not wanting to talk about it, or that reaching out can be considered a weakness,” said Tisdale. “I want to remove that stigma. People should not be afraid to reach out for help, especially when it comes to their own mental health.”
    Coffman and Tisdale said that they believe the shipyard can be a particularly stressful environment, often with an increased workload and the differences from the day-to-day operations of life at sea on in homeport. However, Sailors should never feel like they do not have someone they can turn to in the event that they need help.
    “Be aware of someone else’s reality,” said Tisdale. We don’t always know what’s going on with other people. If you are open to the possibility of helping someone else, you are already helping.”
    Help resources include the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255); press #1, or text 1-800-79-4889, Military Onesource (800-342-9647) and militaryoncesource.mil.
    Mental health resources onboard include the Deployed Resiliency Counselor, the psychological health officer, the ship’s chaplains and departmental suicide prevention team representatives.
    A national Out of the Darkness Walk will be held at Mt. Trashmore park in Virginia Beach, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, from noon to 5 p.m. Registration closes at 10 a.m. the day of and the event is free of charge. This is a community walk that encourages others to open up about their connections to the cause. It is open to friends, family, neighbors and co-workers, walking side-by-side to support each other in memory of those lost to suicide.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.14.2021
    Date Posted: 09.20.2021 09:18
    Story ID: 405593
    Location: VA, US

    Web Views: 110
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN