SEPTEMBER 7, 2016, WASHINGTON (NNS) – The death of a family member often brings a certain amount of uncertainty, but death by suicide can sometimes be even more emotionally devastating with family members wondering what they could have done to prevent it.
“It’s very common for those family members left behind to feel guilty after a suicide,” said Capt. Gary Clore, Navy Installations Command (NIC) force chaplain, “It sometimes leaves them with the difficulty of trying to make sense of what happened.”
September is Suicide Prevention Month and the effects it has on the Navy family make it a major cause of concern for Navy Installations Command.
According to Clore, his training and his work as a Navy chaplain have helped him provide a good support network to others and have allowed him to cope with his own personal tragedy.
“When I was seven years old my father came home and told me that my grandfather had passed away,” said Clore. “He had apparently taken his own life by carbon monoxide poisoning and my father was the one who actually found him in his car in the garage.”
This tragedy helps to define Clore as he is today.
“This serious tragedy, the most seriously impacting event for my father, allowed him to have a positive outlook on life and made him a good father and husband. I inherited my personal values of being authentically caring and respectful of others from my father’s past experiences,” said Clore. “While we cannot redo the past, we can forge the present and the future by understanding those who are in our sphere of influence as we listen and care.”
Navy Installations Command provides programs that can help Navy personnel in their struggles with suicidal thoughts or actions.
The programs available include Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Suicide Alertness for Everyone: Tell Ask Listen and Keep Safe (SafeTALK) which is run by the NIC force chaplain’s office.
ASIST is a two-day suicide prevention training which focuses on the quality of the intervention and in moving someone at risk towards safety.
SafeTALK is part of the ASIST program and is a three-hour training that teaches participants to recognize and engage persons who might be having thoughts of suicide and to connect them with community resources trained in suicide intervention. SafeTALK stresses safety while challenging taboos that inhibit open talk about suicide, according to Clore.
“For suicide prevention to be effective, it requires everyone to know and understand the risk factors and warning signs of suicide and to know how to respond and take action to those warning signs,” said Clore. “Any person who indicates suicidal thoughts or behaviors should be taken seriously and treated with the utmost respect.”
Navy Installations Command is comprised of approximately 52,000 military and civilian personnel worldwide responsible for the operations, maintenance and quality of life programs to support the Navy’s fleet, Sailors and their families.