Navy Rear Admiral Eric Ver Hage said he reached out to the Army after four suicides at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintence Center in Norfolk last year.

The commander of Navy Regional Maintenance Center and Director, Surface Ship Maintenance, Modernization, and Sustainment responded to a question during a panel at the Sea Air Space Conference in Washington D.C. 

 “It’s kind of uncharted territory for me and my leadership team to have so many,” he said. “We’ve had the experience with one maybe two, but to have four in such short order really caused us to have a lot of introspection. And there wasn’t a playbook for us to follow.”

Ver Hage says he took advice from a congressional staffer and reached out to Army officials in Alaska, where they have also had a number of suicides. 

“It's fundamentally about whole person support and making sure that everybody has hope,” he said. “Do they feel valued? Do they get the right medical care, if appropriate. You can go down the list. Physical fitness, mental fitness. All those things. So, the whole person. And focusing on that is kind of how we have been navigating on it.”

The Navy has not released the investigation into the death of the four sailors.

Last Monday, another local sailor assigned to the USS Montana died by suicide. The medical examiner's office confirmed it was a suicide.

Veterans experiencing a mental health crisis can contact the Crisis Line at 988 then Press 1, or text 838255