American Legion posts and members are engaged with “Be the One,” the new effort that aims to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health wellness and, in turn, reduce the rate of veteran suicide.
For example, American Legion Post 373 in Baldwinville, Mass., is partnering with VA representatives, local agencies and others in a day-long symposium. At the event, local officials will share resources, programs and more information with veterans, servicemembers, first responders and their families.
Post 373 member and event organizer Jim Brehio summarized its objective. “Our goal is to save a life,” he said. “To achieve this, we have brought together several groups that address the suicide crisis and offer free services to our country’s veterans each and every day.”
The event begins at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 5 at Narragansett Regional High School, 464 Baldwinville Road in Baldwinville. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. for the symposium. Also, a pancake breakfast will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the American Legion post, 3 Central St. in Baldwinville.
Both events are free and open to the public.
Suicide prevention professionals will offer information and resources for members of the military community, police, firefighters, EMT’s, first responders and front line emergency workers who are particularly at risk because of the high levels of stress they face. Family members and others who support public safety workers will also find the presentations useful. The following organizations will offer presentations at the event:
• Home Base - Red Sox Foundation / Mass. General Hospital
• Veterans Administration of Central-Western Mass. Suicide Prevention Team
• SAVE Team, Mass. Department of Veterans Services
• Massachusetts National Guard
• Heywood Hospital Suicide Prevention Task Force
• Montachusett Veterans Outreach
• Veterans Center, Springfield, Mass.
Retired Brig. Gen. Paul “Greg” Smith, former Land Component Commander of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, will serve as moderator.
If your post is hosting, planning or participating in a similar event, there are a variety of resources such as customizable brochures, videos, a QR code and more. Read this primer and visit betheone.org to access the materials.