Military – Veteran
Nationally and in Ohio, Military Members & Veterans are at an increased risk of suicide as compared to their peers. We know through data that Veterans make up 18.5% of our national suicide deaths, but only 8.5% of our population. In Ohio, 17% of Ohioans who died by suicide in 2015 were veterans.
Risk for suicide is 22% higher in our nation’s veterans as compared to the general adult population.
Information obtained from: Veterans Administration Suicide Prevention Program (2016). Facts about veteran suicide.; Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs (Sept 2017). VA Releases Suicide Data by State. Veterans Administration.; OVDRS 2015 Annual Report. Ohio Department of Health.
Despite these statistics, we know that suicide can be prevented and individuals in crisis can be supported and connected with effective mental health services. OSPF seeks to equip and empower military members, veterans, their families, and those serving them with the knowledge to identify the warning signs of suicide, confidence to ask about thoughts of suicide, and ability to refer to mental health providers with competence in military culture. OSPF also works with Ohio’s National Guard (ONG) and military-serving organizations across Ohio to promote greater understanding and awareness of mental health and suicide prevention.
An overview of the Programs & Resources OSPF currently offers to Ohio’s military population are listed below:
Serving Ohio Guardsmen and Women (SOG) Project:
The SOG campaign is a three-year, SAMHSA-funded grant project which seeks to empower Ohio’s military, their families, and those serving them to take ownership of their mental health, engage in positive mental health strategies, and be aware of the resources available in Ohio to support them in times of need. The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation has been granted $125,000 per year through 2021 to implement the SOG Project.
Major partners involved in the SOG Project are the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, the Ohio National Guard, Mindful Minds, and the Partnership for Violence Free Families.
The SOG Project has three major goals:
- Increase the number of Ohio National Guardsmen, Guardswomen, their loved ones and those serving them who are able to recognize when a peer is in need of behavioral health services.
- Increase the ability of the ONG members, their loved ones, and those serving them to effectively de-escalate crisis situations.
- Increase the ability of Ohio National Guardsmen, Guardswomen and their loved ones to receive the needed behavioral health services from competent mental health providers.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA):
OSPF is working with the ONG and the Veterans, Service Members, and their Families Committee hosted by NAMI Ohio to offer Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Trainings throughout the state. MHFA is a full day training that provides education on mental health, skills to recognize peer distress, and confidence to provide support and refer individuals to mental health services when needed. These MHFA Trainings are hosted by veterans and service members and aim to reach service members and their families in each region of Ohio.
To learn more about MHFA, visit the national website here: https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/
To find a MHFA training near you and to sign up for a free MHFA training for veterans and service members, visit OSPF’s Calendar of Events.
Star Behavioral Health Provider (SBHP) Training
The SOG Project also offers 4 Tier 1, SBHP Trainings annually through 2021 focused on equipping mental health providers, health-care providers, faith leaders, social service workers, and others serving military members with education on working effectively with military members. SBHP trains civilian providers in military specific culture and services that focus on the needs of the military population.
SBHP is a free, full-day training which provides CEUs to behavioral health and health professionals. Ohio providers who take part in SBHP are listed on a state website which military members can use to find providers equipped to effectively support them.
To learn more on SBHP & view its list of providers, visit the website here: https://starproviders.org/states/ohio
To find an upcoming STAR Training near you and to sign up for a free STAR training for veterans and service members, visit OSPF’s Calendar of Events.
Together Strong Phone Application:
Together Strong is a free phone-based, suicide prevention, gatekeeper training designed specifically for military members and veterans. The Together Strong Phone App uses stories, characters, and avatar-based simulations to provide participants with practice having life-saving conversations with their peers, family members or friends who are serving/have served our country.
Together Strong provides phone app users with an introduction to mental health, strategies/tips for having helpful conversations with peers, and practice having those conversations through simulations. Together strong feels more like an interactive game than a training and prepares individuals to be there for a peer in distress. App users engage in 3 realistic conversations featuring service member and veteran characters.
To learn more about Together Strong, visit https://jointogetherstrong.com/. You can download Together Strong by searching “Join Together Strong” in Google Play or the App Store. Type in an Ohio Zip Code of Residence for free access to the App.
Man Therapy is a web-based male mental health awareness initiative that seeks to empower men to take ownership of their mental health and overall wellness by increasing help-seeking behavior and educating men on everyday strategies they can use to maintain positive mental health.
OSPF works with Man Therapy to promote metal health and suicide prevention resources with messaging & content specific for the military population. Messaging and resources for the military range from humorous quotes to military member mental health success stories to website listings with resources specific for our active-duty military and veterans.
For additional information on Man Therapy, visit OSPF’s Man Therapy information webpage.
For military-focused materials you can print and distribute in Ohio, visit OSPF’s online Man Therapy Military Resource Box.
OSPF has purchased rights to the promotion of Man Therapy in Ohio from Cactus Communications Inc.