A sailor assigned to the Navy ship USS George Washington died by suicide on Jan. 23 in Newport News, a spokesperson from the town's police department confirmed Wednesday to CBS News.
The Navy confirmed Boatswain's Mate Seaman (BMSN, E-3) Lucian Johan Woods died on Jan. 23 at a private residence in Newport News, Virginia, where the USS George Washington is stationed.
"On Jan. 23, 2023, a Sailor assigned to USS George Washington (CVN 73) passed away at a private residence in Newport News, Va.," the Navy said in a statement. "The details surrounding this incident remain under investigation. Our thoughts and condolences are with the family, friends, and shipmates of the Sailor. Embedded chaplains, mental health providers, and leaders are engaged with the crew and are available to provide appropriate support and counseling to those grieving this unexpected loss."
This death by suicide comes less than a year after three sailors assigned to the GW died by suicide in April 2022.
After reports that three sailors had died by suicide in a single week, the Navy launched a monthslong investigation that concluded the deaths were not connected, and stress related to life in a shipyard environment was a "contributing factor" in at least one of the suicides. The Navy investigation provided insight into the conditions of shipyard life and the "overwhelming" stress on mental health resources.
Since 2017, the USS George Washington has been docked at Newport News Shipbuilding for a major overhaul and repairs, which has taken longer than expected. These construction-like living and working conditions have created hardships for the sailors, as its cramped, hot and loud.
The Navy has provided mental health support to sailors following reports of the recent suicide, a Navy spokesperson said. In addition to an embedded mental health team, the ship has two civilian resiliency counselors (Deployed Resiliency Counselor, DRC) who work on the ship and are available to Sailors right where they work.
For immediate help if you are in a crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential.
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