You have heard me talk on many occasions about the importance and value of our Sailors and the contributions they make to our Fleet and our Navy. One of the more tragic issues we face today is suicide. In FY09, Fleet Forces lost 14 Sailors to suicide and had more than 485 reported cases of suicidal behavior. Last year we conducted five suicide prevention workshops in Fleet concentration areas with Fleet leadership at all levels and, frankly, I think our leadership gets it. They understand the tragedy that occurs when a Sailor takes his or her own life. Not only is it a loss of life for a Sailor, but it leaves permanent scars on those left behind.
However, this is not an issue that can be solved by a policy message or a single training session. I am interested in your feedback on how we reach Sailors who are at the point of taking such a desperate and destructive act as suicide. How do we get to them with help before they reach this point? What can we do as a Navy family to help those around us deal with life issues - be they emotional, financial, whatever - that they may see as simply insurmountable? If you have been involved with a shipmate who was thinking of suicide, how did you handle it? All the best, JCHjr