Sailors and Marines aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) participated in a 5 kilometer (5K) run for suicide awareness and prevention, Sept. 14.
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and commands throughout the Navy are using this month as a launch pad to focus on the Navy’s ongoing suicide prevention efforts.
The event, hosted by the ship’s Coalition of Sailors against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) and its health promotions committee, was geared toward increasing awareness as well as encouraging shipmates to take care of themselves and to take care of each other.
“Suicide is something that should never happen, but it does, and one of the thoughts with prevention is just the basic premise that if we take care of ourselves so we’re good, then we can also help take care of those around us,” said Lt. Matt Pickering, Navy chaplain. “Physical activity, taking care of our bodies, taking care of our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual selves is really important, and that was a big part of it.”
Hosting the 5K was also a good opportunity to reach more people on the ship with the theme and purpose of the event.
In conjunction with this month’s focus on suicide prevention, Mesa Verde also hosted trainings on topics including building resilience, navigating stress, encouraging bystander intervention to A-C-T (Ask, Care, Treat), as well as an ice cream social where resources and facts were displayed for the crew.
Mesa Verde is part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.