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SOURCE Army OneSource
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho, Sept. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Veterans, Clergy, First Responders, Behavioral Health Specialists, Social Workers, Educators and others who may come across Service members in the course of their work or service are invited to attend a workshop on Thursday, October 17th to better understand Idaho's high suicide rate and its connection to the military community. Attendees will learn what resources are available within the state and how they can become an advocate for change.
In Idaho, suicide is the second leading cause of death for residents between the ages of 15 and 34. Idaho is consistently amongst the states with the highest suicide rates and in 2010 had the 6th highest suicide rate, 49% higher than the national average.
Additionally, Idaho is home to over 6,000 active-duty soldiers, 4,996 National Guard and Reserve soldiers and 6,065 veterans. While most of these service men and women successfully navigate military life and integration into their community, some may suffer from physical, emotional and spiritual wounds that, if not treated, can result in substance abuse, violent behavior, social withdrawal, depression or suicide.
Indeed, a July 2012 report found that an estimated 13 to 20 percent of service members deployed since 9/11 may have PTSD and a 2011 study showed that 6.5% of 9/11 veterans stated they were experiencing active suicidal ideation.
These factors, combined with a reluctance of many service members to seek help from the VA, result in an increased dependence on local behavioral health providers, first responders and members of the faith community.
The Idaho Behavioral Health Alliance, a group which includes Army OneSource, Catholic Charities of Idaho, Idaho Transition Assistant Advisor for the Idaho National Guard and the Spokane VA Hospital has launched a series of workshops aimed at educating service providers on the front-lines of support on military culture and how to best support service members in need.
"We all we strive to cope with the joys and challenges of life and maintain hope that we can and will feel better and do better as we live the human experience on our journey of life. Our military warriors and peacekeepers are no different but they do have unique experiences, joys, challenges and horrors that are difficult to cope with in a healthy way. It makes it even harder for them because most of us non- military civilians have difficulty wrapping our brain around military culture, daily life in a combat zone or let alone understand how they are supposed to deal with all of it," says Paul Grayhek, MSW, LCSW, North Idaho Regional Director and Counselor for Catholic Charities of Idaho. "We need to educate ourselves so we can better support our military friends and family that need us. It's somewhat ridiculous to tell a warrior/friend 'I'm here for you' knowing that I've done nothing to prepare myself to be of help. Knowledge is power and perspective builds wisdom. In order to be a powerful support for a warrior you need some knowledge and understanding from their perspective."
The Alliance has already trained 185 first responders and behavioral health professionals with this workshop titled, "Issues Surrounding Military Suicides: Making the Connection." They will host their third and fourth workshops in Coeur d'Alene on October 17th and Lewiston, ID in the spring of 2014, hoping to reach an additional 100 individuals at each.
The October 17th event will take place at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 625 E Haycraft Ave, Coeur d'Alene, ID, from 8:00am to 4:00 pm. Guest speakers include Jeff Hisser, Navy Veteran and author of "Return but no Escape," Kurt Rossbach, Suicide Prevention Coordinator at Department of Veterans Affairs, Spokane VA and Paul Grayhek. The event will focus on educating participants on the warning signs of suicidal ideation in service members and arm them with a tool kit of resources for support and referral.
The workshop is $10, qualifies for 3 Continuing Education Credits (CEUs), and includes lunch and snacks. Interested individuals should register by October 13th at http://northidmilitarysuicide.eventbrite.com.
The state of Idaho has a great responsibility in serving the military families in its communities. Working together in an informed and synchronized effort to address the unique challenges facing today's military will go a long way in ensuring our service members and their families live the lives they deserve.
For more information about Army OneSource and the Behavioral Health Alliance contact the Army OneSource Idaho Community Support Coordinator at Sheila.email@example.com.
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