With Veterans’ Day fast approaching, NAMI Four County’s November 7 meeting will focus on military veterans’ mental health and local programs that can offer hope and help for veterans who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their service.
“NAMI recognizes that after leaving the service, many veterans continue to fight mental and emotional battles,” Wendy Jennings, the executive director of the local NAMI chapter, said.
“Anywhere from 11 to 20 percent of veterans experience PTSD in a given year and in 2020 veteran suicide rates increased by 25 percent.”
Jeremy Suttles, a community engagement, and partnership coordinator with the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System in Michigan, will be the featured presenter at NAMI’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, November 7.
The meeting, which is free and open to the public, starts at 7 p.m. at the ADAMhs Board office on State Route 66 south of Archbold across from Four County Career Center.
Suttles will talk about the importance of building community coalitions that work to improve veterans’ mental and emotional health, increase their access to local behavioral health services and enhance suicide prevention efforts that are geared to veterans and their families.
NAMI Four County president Billie Jo Horner, who is also an Ohio certified prevention specialist with Maumee Valley Guidance Center, will explain a specific behavioral health treatment and prevention program that the Guidance Center now offers for veterans and their families.
Therapists who work with military families have completed a three-part course created by the Center for Deployment Psychology.
The first part of the course introduces military culture and information about deployment cycles as well as military terminology.
The second part provides therapists with information about specific challenges and difficulties that are often associated with military service.
And the final portion provides therapists with evidenced-based treatments for behavioral health issues that service members, veterans, and their families face.
Once the entire training has been completed, the therapists are registered as Star Behavioral Health providers.
NAMI Four County also offers a free, peer-led six session program called NAMI Homefront for families, caregivers and friends of military members and veterans with mental health conditions.
Persons interested in registering for this program can do so on the NAMI website: www.namifourcounty.org.
“On Veterans’ Day, we celebrate the brave men and women who have served our country,” Jennings said.
“Having conversations about their mental health is important. For so long, they have been asked to be strong. Now is the time to find the strength to seek out understanding of what they have been through and find hope,” she concluded.
NAMI Four County has received $6,500 from this year’s Dennis Deeds Suicide Awareness Memorial Bike Ride to support mental health programming for veterans.
Those funds are being used to support Maumee Valley’s Star Behavioral Health program, NAMI Homefront, and other community veteran programs.
NAMI Four County is an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest education and advocacy group for family members, friends and persons living with a mental illness.
For more information about the local chapter and its free programming, visit its website: www.namifourcounty.org.