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