By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zulema Sotelo

BREMERTON, Wash. -Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) learned how to take the first steps in preventing suicide by attending the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) program at Jackson Park Chapel, Sept 24-25.

Inside the chapel, Sailors and civilians from Kitsap County shared stories and discussed signs of potential suicide attempts and how to be a source of aid.

“It’s encouraging to see the service members and civilians who come through this training because it means we’re strengthening our suicide awareness and teaching the community how to take the necessary steps in preventing suicide throughout the region,” said Chief Religious Programs Specialist Adre Floyd, from Pomona, Calif. “I hope after this workshop people will be ready and willing to assist someone who is thinking about suicide.”

Videos, a workbook and role playing scenarios helped the group become more aware of key traits that identify a person at risk for suicide and gave them the necessary tools to use during a real-time intervention.

“I have had to deal with this situation before on a few different occasions, and it’s hard when you don’t know the right things to say,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 2nd Class Lian Lawrence, from Fort Myers, Fla. “I was affected by suicide at an early age when my step dad was heavy into drugs and contracted HIV. He didn’t know how to tell me and my sister, and when I was 10 years old my mom and I found him hanging in our basement. Because of that, I want to be able to help people who are struggling and hopefully help them figure out a better option than ending their lives.”

During the workshop, ASIST facilitators emphasized the slogan “the time is now” to bring up the importance of acting instead of reacting when it comes to the topic of suicide.

“The hardest thing to understand during this training is that people do actually want to live,” said Floyd. “Sometimes they just reach rock bottom, but they need that one glimmer of hope; that one little reason to live and to overcome the depression and thoughts of suicide. Hopefully this training will make a big difference when it comes to dealing with this important

For further information on suicide prevention contact the Military Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, your local Religious Ministries Office or for the Navy’s Instruction on reporting suicidal behavior, OPNAVINST 1720.4A.

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