MAY 20, 2015, WASHINGTON (NNS) – In 2014, the 21st Century Sailor Office’s Suicide Prevention Branch (OPNAV N171) introduced the “Every Sailor, Every Day” message to the fleet. This call-to-action implores Sailors, leaders and families to strengthen their connections with one another and “break the code of silence” when it comes to discussions and actions that may prevent suicide. The campaign focuses on ongoing engagement, active communication, peer support and personal responsibility, underscoring the impact strong connections can have on facilitating early recognition and intervention when there are indications of distress.
As we approach the one year mark of the fleet-wide “Every Sailor, Every Day” campaign-which has spanned across social media, command outreach, multi-media products and more-the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) and the Navy Suicide Prevention Branch have launched a new video to strengthen educational efforts at the deckplate. Now available in the navy.mil video gallery, the BUMED-produced “Every Sailor, Every Day” video is a 17-minute realistic scenario illustrating active command leadership and peer engagement when a few members of a command seem to be reacting negatively to stress. The command triad devises a plan for “100% accountability,” checking in and connecting with every Sailor regardless of their location or duty status on a daily basis to build trust and dialogue, and facilitate intervention if needed. The video also illustrates how individual Sailors can reach out to and support a shipmate when they notice signs or behaviors out of the norm for the person.
“Often when we speak with those left behind in the aftermath of a suicide they reveal that they noticed small changes that the Sailor exhibited, but either didn’t think they were cause for concern or didn’t know how to respond appropriately,” said Steve Holton, deputy director, Navy Suicide Prevention Branch. “This video does an excellent job at showing how Sailors and leaders can stay involved and ‘connect the dots’ when something doesn’t seem right, ensuring the Sailor gets support before the situation escalates.”
While the “Every Sailor, Every Day” message launched during 2014 Suicide Prevention Month and has since continued as Navy’s core suicide prevention communications campaign, the concept originated as a Navy Medicine leadership initiative spearheaded by Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.
The initiative aimed to encourage proactive leadership engagement by identifying and supporting Sailors who may be experiencing challenging times in their lives; including transitions, relationship difficulties, career setbacks and financial troubles. Case studies and research have consistently identified these as increased periods of risk-especially when Sailors are away from the support of their peers, leaders and families.
“Eliminating suicide within the ranks is an all hands effort. Because even one suicide is too many, it’s very important that we be there for “every Sailor, every day” by going out of our way to engage with one another during calm and rough seas,” said Nathan.
The “Every Sailor, Every Day” video can be used as part of command Suicide Prevention Program efforts, from supplementary trainings to education and awareness events, providing a current and relatable product to refresh command suicide prevention coordinators’ (SPC) available video offerings. Outside of these settings, the video can strengthen individual knowledge and skills, providing tangible examples that can be applied at the deckplate.
To view a short trailer for the “Every Sailor, Every Day” video, click here. To view the full product, click here. SPCs can expect to receive a hardcopy DVD version delivered to their command free of charge within the coming months.
For more information and resources from the “Every Sailor, Every Day” campaign, visit www.suicide.navy.mil.