Thursday, October 29, 2015

ACT: There's an epidemic out there

The U.S. Navy--specifically my community, Public Affairs--had a warning shot volleyed across its bow yesterday (metaphorically speaking). A high-ranking Sailor that I very much admired passed away yesterday and I am sad that his death is being investigated as a suicide. In the wake of this tragedy, he leaves behind a wife, children and a grandchild.

I do not want to broach this subject, BUT this is a topic we must talk about, we must address AND we must do something about.

Every day, 22 servicemembers succumb to suicide. So far in 2015 (as of 10/05/2015), 35 Active Duty Sailors and 9 Reservist Component Sailors have committed suicide.

In 2006, 45 AC and RC Sailors died from suicide. Last year it was 68. This is an epidemic plaguing
all five military branches and we cannot simply wish this epidemic away. We must take action. We must ACT. *

* A=Ask C=Care T=Treat

Do you know what to look for when someone might be considering suicide? Here are some warning signs.

* Does the person act out impulsively or out-of-character unexplainably?
* Are they experiencing difficulty managing friendships?
* Do they seek to isolate themselves from friends and family?
* Are they in financial trouble?
* Is their performance in routine tasks suffering?
* Do they exhibit difficulty getting out of bed and getting through daily tasks?
* Are they constantly tired or sluggish?
* Do they abuse alcohol and/or drugs?
* Do they exhibit intense feelings of guilt?

These questions carry over into civilian life as well. I am sure you all have heard the adage "don't commit a permanent solution to a temporary problem. This may sound trite, but in reality it is a battle charge for us all to take care of our friends and loved ones.

If you know someone who worries you, ask them if they are okay. Ask them once, twice, ask them three times. Tell them you care. Show them you care. Tell them others care, tell them this world will be a little less without them. And urge them to talk to their doctor, their pastor, anyone... anyone who can help.

If you are a friend, you must ACT.