The Navy Suicide Prevention Branch, OPNAV N170F, is comprised of the Suicide Prevention and Operational Stress Control (OSC) Programs. The branch's goal is to minimize suicide risk by enabling Sailors to thrive as a psychologically healthy, resilient and mission-effective people through knowledge, responsibility and resources.
Per OPNAVINST 1720.4B, every command is required to maintain a robust Suicide Prevention Program, helping to equip Sailors with the knowledge, skills and resources to proactively navigate stress, support one another and respond appropriately in the event of a crisis.
- Training – In line with reference (a), commanders at all levels will provide annual suicide prevention training to all members of their respective organizations and ensure family members have access to training, education, and information. Suicide prevention training conducted within the DON must be compliant with the DoD Suicide Prevention Training Competency Framework.
- Intervention – Intervention includes proactive planning for crisis intervention, addressing the process for identification, referral, access to treatment, and follow-up procedures for personnel who are at risk of suicide.
- Response – Sailors experiencing a psychological health or suicidal crisis, as well as those affected by suicide including shipmates and families, will receive timely and appropriate support.
- Reporting – Suicides and SRBs must be reported immediately to mobilize appropriate resources and inform command and Navywide suicide prevention efforts. Additionally, in the case of an SRB, the command must submit a referral to the SAIL Program.
Commanding Officer's Responsibilities per OPNAVINST 1720.4B:
Foster a command climate that supports and promotes behavioral health and overall wellness and foster unit cohesion.
Provide support for those who seek help with personal problems. Access must be provided to prevention, counseling, and treatment programs and services that address psychological, family, and personal problems that may contribute to suicide risk.
Establish and maintain an effective suicide prevention program consistent with requirements of this instruction.
Designate an SPC in writing. Assistant SPCs can be assigned at the commanding officer's discretion, taking command size and workload of the SPC into consideration. Assistant SPCs must be designated in writing and meet the same training requirements as the SPC. SPC should receive training within 90 days of appointment. Mental health providers, chaplains, and religious program specialists will not be assigned to SPC positions.
Develop a written crisis response plan and run drills, at least annually, to ensure readiness.
Ensure the command notifies the SPC when a Sailor exhibits an SRB and ensure timely submission of the SAIL referral.
As directed by reference (a), establish an agreement with installation security for the storage of personal weapons when necessary.
Complete DoDSER reporting requirements. Commands must make every effort to answer DoDSER questions completely to ensure DoDSER quality. “Data unavailable” or “cannot determine” responses may result in the DoDSER being returned for rework.
Be thoroughly familiar with policies and procedures outlined in references (b) and (d) regarding command directed mental health evaluations and healthcare provider command notification requirements.
For more information, refer to the Navy Suicide Prevention Handbook, OPNAVINST 1720.4B or contact the Navy Suicide Prevention Program at 901-874-6613 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020 Navy Suicide Prevention Handbook
Communications with Medical Providers Regarding Mental Health Treatment
5 Things You Should Know About Reducing Access to Lethal Means
DoD Suicide Prevention Training Competency Framework
Posters, graphics, fact sheets, etc.
Every Sailor, Every Day Campaign
Navy Operational Stress Control blog