American philosopher and psychologist, Dr. William James once said, “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” That statement holds particular meaning when placed in the context of suicide prevention.
September is Suicide Prevention Month for the Navy and is seen as an opportunity to re-energize efforts to engage Sailors to recognize and intervene early during signs of distress. As part of the Every Sailor, Every Day campaign, the Navy has introduced “1 Small ACT,” which encourages simple actions anyone can take to promote cohesion and inspire hope. It’s based on the Ask Care Treat (ACT) bystander intervention model.
The idea is that 1 Small ACT, like lending a hand to a shipmate on the job, offering positive feedback, or being there to listen and provide support- can help prevent suicide. Psychological health is a topic rarely discussed before the tragic loss of a shipmate or family member to suicide; however, breaking the silence and starting a conversation about stress and suicide can help prevent deaths because not all prevention happens during a crisis. Just that little bit of caring, shown through everyday kindness can help support every Sailor, every day and just might be the opening they need to get help.
Navy Suicide Prevention Branch has a myriad of resources to help jumpstart efforts to combat suicide as a community, command or individual. For example, you can personalize a “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 the entire Navy community. Submission details are available on the Every Sailor, Every Day page There are also other resources, like the Suicide Prevention Month Toolkit, educational products and the “1 Small ACT a Day” calendar.
Suicide prevention is about taking care of people. That begins with us showing we care about one another and promoting a culture where all personnel feel supported, and view seeking help as a sign of strength. Together the Navy can fight suicide and become stronger; it’s as easy as consistently showing every Sailor, every day that they matter. Commit to 1 Small ACT.
WASHINGTON (Aug. 26, 2015) Lt. David Dziengowski, left, Yeoman 1st Class Silvia Raya, and Lt. j.g. Victor Gutierrez, from the Chief of Naval Personnel office, show support for the 1 Small Act message as part of the Every Sailor, Every Day campaign during Suicide Prevention Month. The campaign is designed to encourage dialogue and provide early resources to prevent suicide. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Lorenzo John Burleson/Released)