USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, At Sea -- Through a series of scheduled events, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) is promoting suicide prevention and raising awareness for available methods to get help during National Suicide Prevention Week, September 9-15.
Aboard IKE, each day will focus on different triggers for suicide, including relationship problems; discipline and legal action; work-related problems; physical health issues; and, financial problems.
Throughout the week, information will be available to IKE Sailors on the ship's mess decks to encourage awareness and to present techniques for suicide prevention.
"We wanted to make training material available to the crew," said Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Abel Griego, the suicide prevention coordinator aboard IKE. "We hope Sailors come out to the mess decks to gain information about suicide and how to prevent it."
Additionally, there will be a "Run Out of the Darkness" Cardio Campaign, meant to give Sailors an opportunity to dedicate cardio miles to someone lost to suicide, or just to show support for suicide prevention. Participants of the campaign can pledge cardio time by running the treadmill, riding the bike or using an elliptical machine.
According to the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS), 42 active duty Sailors have committed suicide thus far in FY12. Such numbers make it evident the importance of commands to harness suicide prevention.
"One is too many," said Griego. "Suicide doesn't come out of the blue. There are signs along the way."
Feeling trapped, like there is no way out of a situation, or feelings of hopelessness are two common indicators that someone may be at risk of, or contemplating suicide. Some other indicators are uncontrolled anger, increased alcohol or drug use, withdrawing from family and/or friends, anxiety, dramatic mood changes, expressing no reason for living and feeling no sense or purpose in life.
"Sailors thinking about suicide may give the appearance they are ok and nothing is wrong," said Griego. "They have to open up and become vulnerable. They want help."
Ask, Care, Treat (ACT) is a tool Sailors can use to help prevent a suspected suicide. Sailors can ask how their shipmates are, let them know they care about them and if needed, get their shipmates treatment.
"Suicide prevention is an all hands effort," said Griego. "Ask your shipmates how they are doing."
There are three avenues for getting help, the chain of command, chaplains and medical.
"There is always an opportunity to prevent suicide," said ship's Psychologist, Cmdr. Aaron Werbel. "People having suicidal thoughts want the pain to stop. They don't necessarily want to die.
Sailors are encouraged to use ACT and notify their chain of command if they feel someone is at risk for suicide.
"Although we may not prevent every suicide in the Navy, every single suicide is preventable," said Werbel. "If you notice a shipmate suffering, get involved. Suicide is a tragedy that can be prevented."