National Suicide Prevention Month: Join SoldierStrong’s Efforts to Prevent Veteran Suicide
By Chris Meek
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Part of our mission at SoldierStrong is to deliver treatment to combat the devastating effects of post-traumatic stress (PTS) through the donation of BraveMind virtual reality systems to Veterans Affairs medical facilities across the country.
Because of the vast support from generous patriots from across the country, SoldierStrong has donated 30 BraveMind systems since the fall of 2019. However, there is still a long list of VA facilities nationwide that are waiting to have immediate access to this revolutionary technology.
Here is what we know: When National Suicide Prevention Month began twenty years ago the death by suicide rate was 30% lower than it is today. Even with a continued reduction in the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment and the allocation of $222 million by Congress to the VA to prevent suicide in the past decade, there are still 17 veteran suicides each day. Even just one veteran suicide a day is far too many.
The BraveMind system, developed by the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, safely enables veterans to relive and deconstruct traumatic memories from their service in a virtual reality headset while talking through the nuances of those memories with a licensed therapist in an evidence-based method known as prolonged-exposure therapy. The BraveMind system is so effective that 65% of veterans who have used it have significantly reduced or eliminated their PTS symptoms!
We’ve heard that veterans across the country have requested the BraveMind technology but are unable to access it through their local VA. That is why this month we have set a goal to raise $15,000 in order to donate another BraveMind system to a VA facility in desperate need. We can’t ensure that more veterans have access to this life-changing and more importantly life-saving technology without the support of our fellow Americans.
Here is what you are supporting when you contribute to our efforts to deploy the BraveMind system:
“I just talked about something that I’ve avoided and never talked about for ten years. Each time a little weight came off my shoulders. I was able to face my family and friends and be a bit more productive in society.”
This was the testimonial provided to us by Marine Sergeant Chris Merkle several years ago. Today, Chris has completed his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and will begin providing therapy to fellow veterans experiencing PTS at a VA facility in Southern California.
This is the type of transform that you can be a part of when you support SoldierStrong. Whether you can give $10, $25, $50, $100 or more, your support is critical to our efforts to deliver this type of revolutionary medical technology. We invite you to help SoldierStrong make a life-changing difference in the lives of America’s veterans this National Suicide Prevention Month.