JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
According to the Center for Disease Control, someone in America dies from suicide every 12 minutes and is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
Although certain demographics may be more susceptible to a particular mental illness, most afflictions do not discriminate by age, race, and religion or body composition.
“Suicide and other mental health conditions don’t care what rank or branch of service you are in,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Anthony Waite, the division training officer assigned to Naval Health Clinic Charleston. “As a healthcare professional and a person, I ask that service members, and our civilian counterparts, try to remember why they do what they do -- remember why you came in.”
Service members, civilian DOD employees and their dependents, have access to a variety of helping agencies and tools to combat the various degrees of depression and other mental afflictions.
“Too often, as service members we get caught up in the image of who we are in uniform by our ranks or our ribbons and when we take it off our identity gets hung up in the closet with it,” said Waite. “I try to remind my patients that it’s not what’s on your chest but rather what’s inside of it.”
Some service members, may feel the need to talk to someone; but that their personal struggle may not rise to the level of immediate medical attention. For them, the chaplain may be able to offer possible solutions to their woes.
“Always stay aware and approachable,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Adrienne Benton, Command Chaplain Naval Weapons Station. “Many times, there are people around us that may be facing challenges in their lives that they feel their peers may not take the time to stop and hear them out.”
The All Saints Chapel on the Naval Weapons Station offers a multitude of services and gatherings to help foster a culture of fellowship and community between service members as well as their dependents. The chapel hosts a workshop called “Safe Talk” that offers guidance on how to deal with personal or interpersonal interactions with depressed or suicidal persons and the best ways to deal with emotional hurdles.
According to U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Miranda Guittar, a mental health supervisor assigned to 628th Medical Operations Squadron, no matter how someone who is suffering gets help, it is important that they do in any possible way available to them.
“Being connected to our coworkers and fellow Airmen is sometimes all it takes to make a difference,” said Guittar. “Sometimes we get referrals for things that could be handled by being invested in our people. We all need to take care of each other and make a better effort to be more connected to each other, up and down the chain.”
Military OneSource (800)-342-9647
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline available 24 hours a day (800)-273-8255
628th Mental Health Clinic (843)-963-6852
Naval Weapons Station All Saints Chapel (843)-794-7222
Charleston Air Base Chapel (843)-963-4673