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NEWS | Nov. 2, 2015

Hospital Corps Students Raise Suicide Awareness with Tri-Service Talent Show

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jacquelyn D. Childs, NMETC Public Affairs

Fourteen service members from the tri-service Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) aboard Joint Base San Antonio - Fort Sam Houston, Texas, performed in a competitive talent show, Oct. 28, to help raise suicide prevention awareness.

The event was planned and conducted by Sailors from Navy Medicine Training Support Center's (NMTSC) Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD), often referred to as the Coalition of "Servicemembers" Against Destructive Decisions in the joint environment at METC, where Army and Air Force staff and students are equally involved in the activities.

During brief intermissions of the performances, the dozens of students in attendance heard from the NMTSC suicide prevention coordinator, Chief Hospital Corpsman Sara Stack, and the NMTSC commanding officer, Capt. Denise Smith.

"This is suicide prevention," said Smith to students in attendance. "We want to make sure we act, we care, and that we get them to treatment. Don't leave anybody alone. Remember, every Sailor every day. And suicide prevention isn't just one month out of the year. It's 12 months, every day of the month."

Throughout the show, talented performers sang, danced, and played musical instruments. The overall winner was Yeoman 3rd Class Anthony Eads, a METC student who performed a spoken-word piece, dramatically reciting a poem he had written.

"It felt great to take home first," said Eads. "I signed up because they came out asking for performers, and when they told me what it was about, I thought the idea sounded great. They did a good job incorporating the suicide awareness into the show with the speakers and handouts."

Prior to the start of the show, Stack distributed fliers and magnets with information on stress management and various resources available.

"A lot of us deal with stress during the day, especially being here," she said during intermission. "It can be very challenging when we're trying to study and we have personal things going on in our lives."

Stack spoke to students about options available to them if they needed someone to talk to, both within and outside the command. She ended by reminding everyone that being aware of those around them is the key to possibly preventing suicides in the command.

"[So far this year], we have 35 suicides in the Navy, and that's 35 too many," she said. "So I encourage you to share this information. Reach out to your peers. Reach out to your battle buddy."

NMTSC is the Navy component command that provides administrative and operational control over Navy staff and students assigned to METC and other medical programs in the San Antonio area. With over 50 medical programs and 21,000 graduates a year, METC is the primary Department of Defense healthcare education campus for enlisted medical personnel.

For more news from Navy Medicine Education and Training Command, visit http://www.navy.mil/.