As a Religious Program Specialist working in Navy Medicine at Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) I do my best providing military personnel, their families, staff, and patients with the religious support and care they need. Providing care for each individual and supporting their needs is a top priority. Whether it’s stopping to say hello, offering a quick prayer before surgery or welcoming a new life being brought into this world, myself and the chaplains are always here for all in their time of need.
As the Assistant Suicide Prevention Coordinator (ASPC) I assist with the command’s Suicide Prevention Month. As the ASPC it’s super important to get this information out to every person here whether military or civilian. Suicide is the number one most preventable death in the military. Every person can make a difference and play a key role in preventing a person from taking his or her life.
Most of us have heard of the ‘22,’ which means that every day on average 22 veterans commit suicide. That’s approximately 660 every month and more than 8,000 every year.
Just this year from January to March, 57 active-duty troops — 30 Soldiers, 14 Airmen, 10 Sailors and three Marines – have died by suicide in just the first three months of 2015.
Getting information out on suicide prevention, especially to Sailors straight from training and reminding personnel in leadership positions is truly important. If we can continue to show everyone that they can make a difference to save lives, maybe, just maybe, we can stop someone from taking their own.
As NHB’s ASPC, I personally inform the command about Suicide Prevention Month by teaching at monthly general military training and command orientations, along with ensuring suicide prevention posters, handouts, and other types of information are displayed and available throughout our hospital.
I have never had to deal with an actual case where a person has committed suicide, and truthfully hope I never have to. If I never have to deal with such a case then hopefully that means all the hours and work that we have put into teaching suicide prevention is being used, and there are people out there who remembered to A.C.T.
Ask – Care – Treat. Be willing to listen; Take all suicide threats and attempts seriously; and in a crisis, seek professional help. There is very real hope.
Pastoral Care has an important part in Navy Medicine in regards to providing support for suicide prevention.When it comes to providing support for the Sailors and family who come and see us I have to give the credit all to our chaplains, Cmdr. Bruce Crouterfield and Lt. Shawn) Redmon. They are the ones providing counseling every day and listening to an individual’s story or problem or anything that might be going on in their life. People come to them in their time of need and they are always there for them, helping them through whatever is going on and guiding them back from whatever darkness they might be in, and getting them whatever care they need, especially when it comes to suicide.
The best part about working in Navy Medicine so far has to be about all the people. I have met some of the most amazing people since I’ve started working here, such as meeting Medal of Honor recipient, Maj. Bruce P. Crandall, who was portrayed in the movie ‘We Were Soldiers.’ The people I get to meet and/or help on a daily basis are truly incredible and make working here in Pastoral Care truly amazing. The staff that work here are also incredible. They take patient care seriously and strive to further Navy Medicine and make NHB one of the best facilities for care that there is.
If I had to sum up my experience being part of Navy Medicine in one sentence, I would say that “no matter the situation we will be here to help, all you have to do is ask.”
I’m RP3 Kaleib Rew Taylor. I am Navy Medicine