Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Commanding Officers are responsible for Helping Prevent Suicide

In superior performing commands, Commanding Officers (COs) have written suicide prevention and crisis intervention plans that include the process for identification, referral, access to treatment and
follow-up procedures for personnel who indicate a heightened risk of suicide.

In superior commands, COs foster a command climate that supports and promotes psychological health consistent with operational stress control principles. For example:
(a) Foster unit morale and cohesion;
(b) Promote physical fitness;
(c) Provide clear direction and sense of mission;
(d) Deglamorize alcohol use;
(e) Know their Sailors;
(f) Ensure adequate time for rest;
(g) Encourage good communication;
(h) Help Sailors maintain a work-life balance;
(i) Do positive after-action reviews;
(j) Reward accomplishments;
(k) Refer early for intervention;
(l) Communicate/coordinate with mental health providers; and
(m) Reintegrate Sailors back into the unit after treatment.
Does your CO do (a) through (m)?  What are you doing to help hold him accountable to these standards?  He can't do it all himself.  Find out where you can help.
In superior commands, COs provide support for those Sailors who seek help with personal problems. Access is provided to prevention, counseling and treatment programs and services supporting the early resolution of mental health, and family and personal problems that underlie suicidal behavior.

From the OPNAVINST 1720.4A HERE.

Ask to see your CO's suicide prevention and crisis intervention plans.  It may motivate her/him to write one and comply with Navy policy.

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