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Local military organizations team up for “A Strong Force is a Healthy Force” Campaign during National Mental Health Awareness Month

Suicide prevention notebooks at the Wyoming National Guard Joint Forces Readiness Center...
Suicide prevention notebooks at the Wyoming National Guard Joint Forces Readiness Center Wednesday morning.(Will Thomas)
Published: May. 12, 2021 at 7:12 PM CDT|Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 7:15 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Whether it’s driving past F.E. Warren Air Force Base, hearing the helicopters flying overhead or seeing men in uniform around the city, it’s no question that Cheyenne is a military community. May is not only National Mental Health Awareness Month, but it’s also Military Appreciation Month.

During National Mental Health Prevention Week, representatives from the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, Cheyenne VA, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Air National Guard and Army National Guard have teamed up to bring awareness to military mental health.

“We decided a year ago to come together to do some joint educating in the community and joint outreach, so that we don’t miss anybody, and to become more visible so that people know where to look for help,” said Lead Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the Cheyenne VA Medical Center, Linda Benson.

“We want to definitely take some time to appreciate our military members, but then also talk about mental health. Often times many military members struggle and for a long time there had been stigma around that. It’s okay to not be okay, there’s plenty of people always ready and willing to help,” said Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce Director of Partner Services and Military Affairs Committee Liaison, Rhianna Brand.

Though all of these organizations do as much as they can to bring awareness, representatives say they need the Cheyenne Community’s help to bring an even bigger spotlight to the campaign.

“Suicide prevention is everybody’s business and it’s stigmatized so a lot of people want to avoid it. But if you look at our community and the high rates, there’s loved ones still suffering and reeling from having lost a loved one to suicide. So we believe everybody needs to be educated about the warning signs,” said Benson

“Getting QPR Trained: Question, Persuade, Refer. It’s learning to address the signs and symptoms of suicidal ideation and depression, learning to ask the correct question to persuade someone to get help and where to refer them to locally. That leads me into the next part, knowing the resources available for everyone, but especially our military members,” said Brand.

Benson said it’s important to never leave a veteran alone that is endorsing suicide and has a plan. She said you should get them to the nearest emergency room, call 911, or if there is no imminent danger, call the veterans crisis line at 1(800)-273-8255.

Brand wants anyone struggling to know you are not alone, and can call the number above 24/7 if you are in need.

Wyoming News Now will continue to highlight the “A Strong Force is a Healthy Force” Campaign next week.

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