Dr. William James-influential American philosopher and psychologist-once said to “act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” This statement holds particular meaning when placed in the context of promoting Total Sailor Fitness and Resilience-especially when it comes to suicide prevention.
September is Suicide Prevention Month across the Navy and Department of Defense. Each year, we use this month to reenergize efforts at the deckplate throughout the upcoming fiscal year, promoting fresh ways to stay engaged with our shipmates, recognize signs of distress, and intervene early. To that end, we’re introducing a new message within our Every Sailor, Every Day campaign: “1 Small ACT.” This message encourages simple actions we can all take as shipmates, leaders, family or friends to promote cohesion and inspire hope, based on the Ask Care Treat (ACT) bystander intervention model.
One small act can save a life.”
For too long, psychological health has been a topic rarely discussed openly-until we experience the tragic loss of a shipmate or family member to suicide. Starting now, we ask you to break the silence and start the conversation about stress and suicide early and openly. We have the power to make a difference and break down the barriers to speaking up and seeking help. 1 Small ACT-lending a hand to a shipmate on the job, offering positive feedback, or being there to listen and provide support-can lead to one big step in the right direction.
We often think of suicide prevention as something that happens in the heat of the moment. But for our Navy, it’s about simple actions to support every Sailor, every day. Navy Suicide Prevention Branch has a myriad of resources to help you jumpstart your efforts as a community, command or individually. For example, you can personalize your “1 Small ACT” sign with your own simple commitment to support your shipmates and submit it for posting in the “1 Small ACT” photo gallery, contributing to a wall of hope and inspiration for our entire Navy community. Submission details are available on http://www.suicide.navy.mil on the Every Sailor, Every Day page, along with other resources like the Suicide Prevention Month Toolkit, educational products and the “1 Small ACT a Day” calendar.
Our dedication to suicide prevention is not about numbers-any life lost to suicide is one too many. It’s about taking care of our people and promoting a culture where all personnel feel supported and view seeking help as a sign of strength. Together we can make a difference, 1 Small ACT at a time.
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