Headquarters, Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. — Every 12 minutes, a life is lost to suicide.

At the eighth annual “Laps for Life” walk/run/relay event held here Sept. 21, military members, civilians, contractors and their family members walked or ran 12 laps around the track to remember this sobering statistic and to commemorate National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

“This is an incredibly important event,” said Capt. Jason Hammond, commanding officer of Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River. “It’s motivating to me, because this is a problem that keeps me up at night. It’s preventable, and the solution to that problem is here.”

Hammond encouraged participants to interact with everyone they come in contact with, asking how their day is going and becoming a positive influence.

“It’s what we do as a Navy family that matters,” he said. “This is how you attack this problem. Pass it along; we are going to solve this.”
Before the event started, participants filled out cards in memory of loved ones who may have been suicide victims; the cards were hung on the fence during the event.
The event, sponsored by the NAS Patuxent River Suicide Prevention Coordinator Team, also included an invocation by Lt. Tristan Engle, a participatory reading called

“We Remember Them” and informational booths from the Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. Senior Chief Dave Wolfe sang the national anthem.
Where to Find Help
The Department of the Navy Civilian Employee Assistance Program offers free employee assistance and work/life services to help cope with daily stressors and life challenges. Call 1-844-DONCEAP.

Contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.