A very real look at suicides in the Coast Guard

MK3 Alexander Diaz and MCPOCG Steve Cantrell

MK3 Alexander Diaz and MCPOCG Steve Cantrell

According to the latest statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among Americans aged 10 and over. In 2010 alone, there were 38,364 suicides in the U.S., an average of 105 each day.

Graphic courtesy the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services

Graphic courtesy the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.

As such, your Coast Guard leadership has released a series of short videos, each looking at suicide from a slightly different scope.

But, amongst all of them, the following themes prevail: there is hope; every one of you is valued in our organization; and there are resources available that can help.

So, take care of yourself and seek help when it’s needed. And, keep a close watch on your colleagues, intervening as necessary.

“We will never know how one kind word or one simple act of compassion can make a huge difference when someone feels he or she has reached a breaking point,” said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Steven W. Cantrell. “So, I am asking each of you to be engaged and look for those signs in those that you work and live with.”

“Know that this month – and every month and every day of the year – we can save a life by looking out for our shipmates,” said Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, Coast Guard commandant.

Watch as Zukunft describes his, and our, Duty to People as it relates to suicides in our service and our personal lives:

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Click to see Cantrell and Petty Officer 3rd Class Alexander Diaz, a suicide survivor who has agreed to share his story, talk about the reality of suicides:

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Watch as Capt. Gregory Todd, chaplain of the U.S. Coast Guard, reveals the two factors always present in a suicide and explains what we can do to overcome them:

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