September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month—but we must maintain healthy lives year-round. Long before suicidal thoughts occur, feelings of hopelessness, irreversible failure and/or a lack of belonging set in. Those thoughts may overshadow our perception of our own strength, and evolve into a struggle that seems increasingly difficult to overcome.
That’s why—not only as Sailors, but as leaders, shipmates, family and friends—we must unite to provide a sense of appreciation and belonging. Telling just 3 people why they make a difference in your life can be just as uplifting to you as it is to them. These small seeds of hope can have a powerfully positive effect—letting others know they are an important part of our lives. This is just one of the “Seven Everyday Ways” we can promote emotional health at any time of year.
Commands can take action too. Now, with new resources available and while discussion of suicide prevention at the forefront, it’s a good time to update your Crisis Response Plan (CRP) and run a drill to check its effectiveness. The Commanding Officer’s Tool Kit for Suicide Prevention is an excellent resource to jumpstart and tailor your command’s CRP.
Individuals can practice preparedness as well. With a partner (shipmate, family member, or anyone you’), practice how you’ll apply your crisis plan and ACT in a behavioral health crisis.
There are many ways we can extend the momentum of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The Navy Suicide Prevention Program’s Seven Everyday Ways to Promote Suicide Prevention Awareness offers ideas and resources for individuals, commands and families to promote healthy living. Suicide Prevention begins while we are still mission ready in the green zone—it doesn’t start when we’re already in crisis! Use this resource as a launch pad for your own ideas on how to sustain awareness and make a difference in the lives of those around you.
To download the Information Sheet “Seven Everyday Ways to Promote Suicide Prevention Awareness,” click here.
Visit www.suicide.navy.mil for more details on Navy Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and resources.