See aboard USS George Washington, an aircraft carrier with a checkered recent history


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Sailors depart for small boat operations in a rigid-hull inflatable boat assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).

US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Wadelon Presley

The Navy is taking strides to improve the quality of life for sailors aboard the Washington.

Kellylynn Zuni, the GW’s clinical psychologist, told Health News Florida that the permanent mental health staff on the ship has doubled, allowing them to see any sailor who needs immediate help. The Navy is also creating a psychiatrist intervention team to provide mental health care in emergencies.

In February, the ship also opened a new rest and recreation area for sailors that includes a library, TV, videogames, computers, and phones to stay in contact with their families.

“The underlying theory there is by improving quality of service — which is the combined effort of quality of life and quality of work — we believe that that reduction in friction in a sailor’s life will be one less thing in their rucksack if you will,” Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander of Fleet Forces, told USNI News in October.

Caudle continued: “But the premise is if I can lower that stress and lower what’s on sailors by making their quality of life and quality of work more efficient, more effective, more desirable, then the propensity to actually think about completing suicide will not be on the table.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or has had thoughts of harming themself or taking their own life, get help. In the US, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations. Help is also available through the Crisis Text Line — just text “HOME” to 741741. The International Association for Suicide Prevention offers resources for those outside the US.

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