At least four Virginia-based sailors stationed in the same unit have died by suicide in recent weeks, according to a Thursday NBC News report that cites military officials and family members.
The four sailors were all assigned to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center in Norfolk, according to the NBC News report.
It cites a licensed counselor, Kayla Arestivo, who was brought in a few weeks ago to help sailors in the unit. Arestivo said she was “inundated with the amount of hopelessness at that command.”
The report states that many sailors in the unit were grappling with personal issues, a lack of mental health resources, and felt undervalued and overworked by their superiors, according to Arestivo and a sailor who spoke with NBC.
The four sailors who died by suicide took their own lives between Oct. 29 and Nov. 26, according to NBC.
Chaplains, counselors and psychologists were being made available to sailors at the command, and leadership is taking a “proactive approach” to stress and mental health in the ranks, MARMC spokesman Douglas Denzine was quoted as saying in the NBC report.
“One suicide is too many,” Denzine said in the report. “We remain fully engaged with our Sailors and their families to ensure their health and well-being, and to ensure a climate of trust that encourages Sailors to ask for help.”
Multiple suicides at the command follow a similar rash of suicides among the crew of the aircraft carrier George Washington earlier this year.
Navy leadership has launched investigations into the GW suicides and pledged reforms to how sailors live while ships are undergoing lengthy maintenance stints in the shipyards, but the service has yet to make any of its findings or plans for reform public.
Veterans experiencing a mental health emergency can contact the Veteran Crisis Line at 988 and select option 1 to speak with a VA staffer. Veterans, troops or their family members can also text 838255 or visit VeteransCrisisLine.net for assistance.