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NEWS | Oct. 4, 2023

Command Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month activities designed to offer support, foster community

By Aime Lykins, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

During the month of September, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility observed Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month with activities that engaged members of the workforce by offering community building events, providing mental health and well-being resources and pledging to support those contemplating suicide or who have lost someone to suicide.

Command activities included a Hard Hats for Hope pledge event, where employees signed a HOPE pledge to commit to helping themselves by reaching out and asking for support when needed, offering to connect others to resources when they need support, promoting the importance of mental health, well-being and self-care, and ending the stigma of suicide through education, conversations and engagement.

"To witness the courage of our peers, friends and command family choosing to show up authentically for themselves and for those we have lost was truly empowering," said Tracy Harden, well-being program manager, Code 900, Production Resources.

Other activities included "Lunch and Learns" focused on connecting employees with the shipyard’s mental health and well-being resources, and spotlighting mental health awareness. Interactive activities included a guided meditation for stress reduction and a support group meeting for those who have lost someone to suicide.

"Our events in September were tough, yet beautiful,” said Bre McCorkle, well-being program manager, Code 700, Lifting and Handling. “Stories were shared and several meaningful connections were made. It was humbling to see the participation and engagement grow this year from previous years. Though, at the end of the day, if just one person showed up, if the events meant something to just one employee, then that in itself is success."

If you — or someone you know — are experiencing thoughts of suicide, please take advantage of confidential services like the Command Counseling Program (360-340-2745), Civilian Employee Assistance Program (360-476-5673), or the Veterans/Military Crisis Line and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, by dialing or texting 988. Individuals can also live chat for help via Even if you have never accessed support services before, these resources are available to you. Talk to somebody. Asking for help is a sign of strength and self-care.

“If you are feeling hopeless that anything will change, that you are burden to others, or you can’t see the way out of the pain you feel or the situation you are in, please reach out,” said Tracey Middleton, PSNS & IMF Command Counseling Program Coordinator. “Allow others to support you and remind you that your life matters.