U.S. Navys suicide prevention campaign logo

DoD Ramps Up Social Networking and Suicide Prevention

The U.S. Navy launched a new suicide prevention poster series on Dec. 2 that urges sailors in distress to ask for help and shipmates to look out for one another. The messages on four posters in the series were designed with help from sailors, said Lt. Cmdr. Bonnie Chavez, Behavioral Health Program manager for the Navy. "They were passionate on how to best help each other and represent the sense of community in the Navy."

On Dec. 3, the Defense Department's Web site profiled "MilitaryAvenue Answers" at MilitaryAvenue.com, a military-oriented Web site that offers moving, travel, and lifestyle services and discounts. "Answers" is a new online platform for personnel to share relocation information. "What one person doesn't know, someone else usually does," said retired Army Col. Dale Kissinger, a co-founder of the site. "The problem is finding that person."

To access the online forum, visitors can go to www.militaryavenue.com/answers, type in a question, and get answers from a volunteer experts or others who are online and able to help. "The platform allows for multiple responses to help ensure a well-rounded answer for each question," CEO Dan Kissinger said in the DoD article written by Jamie Findlater, who works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.

The U.S. military is among the nation's biggest employers. As of October 2008, DoD employed 696,300 civilians, with 181,878 of them working for the Navy, according to federal statistics.

The suicide prevention campaign depicts sailors working together to find solutions. "If people remember to ACT -- Ask, Care, Treat, they will be on the right path," Chavez said. "Don't be afraid to ask someone if they are thinking of taking their own life. Care enough to let the person know that suicidal feelings are temporary and that depression can be treated and then get help. Treat -- take them to an emergency room or walk-in clinic. Don't leave them alone. Take action. Remove means, such as guns, stockpiled pills, ropes, and sharp objects."

For more information about the campaign and a list of the suicide warning signs, visit www.suicide.navy.mil.

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