Atlantic Ocean - Throughout September Sailors aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) will recognize Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month (SAPM) through a number of team-building activities. The goal of these events is to encourage positive communication as well as dispel possible misinformation about the Navy’s suicide awareness and prevention program.
“I want to make sure we are fostering an environment that promotes open dialogue,” said Chief Master-at-Arms Caitlin Swenson, Harry S. Truman’s suicide prevention coordinator. “We want to stop any rumors or misguided information that might prevent people from going and seeking help. There is a lot of stigma about how to handle suicide and suicide-related behavior. People have fears about how seeking help might impact their career or personal life.”
According to Navy Personnel Command, active communication and ongoing dialogue about stress, psychological health and suicide can motivate positive action and open the door for lifesaving intervention.
Harry S. Truman’s suicide prevention team is working with several different shipboard associations to help coordinate and host the events, including the Junior Enlisted Association (JEA), the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) team and the First Class Petty Officers Association.
The month kicked off on Sept. 01 with a tea party and will continue with art nights, a sports day, brunch, a trivia night, and end with a 24-hour physical training marathon on Sept. 29th.
As this topic can effect an Navy member, one of Harry S. Truman’s command chaplains strongly recommends as many people as possible participate in these and other similar events around the fleet.
“The truth of the matter is that it could happen to anyone in any department at any time,” said Cmdr. James Dance. “So it’s important that we are constantly holding each other accountable to look for the signs and symptoms of someone who might potentially be in distress.”