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September Is Suicide Prevention Month For U.S. Navy

Navy suicide prevention poster
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Above: Navy suicide prevention poster

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called suicide an epidemic in the U.S. military. In September, the Navy will focus on efforts to prevent suicide within its ranks, by promoting intervention, communication, and better ways to navigate stress.

Sailors looking for resources in how to help themselves, or someone else in trouble, can visit suicide.navy.mil and navynavstress.com.

Home Post reported in June that 154 active duty troops committed suicide in the first 155 days of 2012, based on Department of Defense statistics. That's compared to 138 U.S. troops who lost their lives in combat during that same time period.

Capt. Kurt Scott, Behavioral Health Programs director, Bureau of Naval Personnel, told Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs:

"Our people are our greatest asset. We're promoting a lifestyle of total fitness - physically, mentally, socially and spiritually - to ensure our Sailors are best able to meet the challenges they will face in today's Navy.

These efforts reinforce the Secretary of the Navy's 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, as well as support the Chief of Naval Operation's directions. Most importantly, focusing on total fitness puts us on a path to prevent suicides."

On September 28, the Navy will announce the winner of its Suicide Prevention Public Service Announcement Contest. The contest ran from July 20 through August 24. Sailors were encourage to express their creativity by making a video that conveyed one of two key messages: "It's Okay to Speak Up When You're Down" and "Life is Worth Living."

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