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Together With Veterans hosting SWOT assessment meeting in Pahrump

The men and women who have served in the United States military have given of themselves, made sacrifices on a daily basis and put the safety of others before themselves in order to protect America but when service comes to an end and they return to civilian life, the transition can be jarring.

Many former military service members find themselves struggling with mental health problems, which in turn contributes to the high rate of suicide among the veteran population.

To those who honor and recognize the country’s former military service members for all they have done, this is simply unacceptable and many communities are now taking action to do whatever they can to reduce the rate of veteran suicide with the help of a nationwide program entitled Together With Veterans.

“Together With Veterans is a veteran-led, community-based suicide prevention program. TWV teams conduct a public health action planning process to address rural veteran suicide prevention,” information regarding the program details. “Implementation of the action plan is ongoing and is intended to create long-term relationships between veterans and community service providers, deepen community awareness about veteran needs and improve services and support for veterans and their families.”

In February of this year, the Together With Veterans program, or TWV for short, was introduced to the Nye County community by representative Robert Dare, who went before the Nye County Commission with a presentation on the program.

Not long after that presentation, veterans and other residents came forward to offer their services on the steering committee needed to get the program started locally and the NyE Communities Coalition stepped up to act as the nonprofit umbrella for the program.

“The story of Together With Veterans begins at the Western Institute Commission on Higher Education (WICHE). They approached Stacy Smith here at the NyE Communities Coalition to manage a grant for the purpose of improving suicide prevention for veterans in our area,” LeeAnn Luna, a spokesperson for the local TWV program, explained. “The first action needed was the formation of a steering committee comprised of at least 51% veterans.”

The veteran-driven nature of the TWV program is a key factor for its model, as those who have actually experienced military service themselves are best placed to bring the most pertinent knowledge to the table when considering how to effectively address the issue of veteran suicide.

“Then as activities increased, we had a Community Readiness Assessment and we will be going over those results this month,” Luna continued. “Our next step is the SWOT analysis to determine the, ‘Strengths, Weaknesses, Obstacles and Threats’ to bringing services in.”

The community has the chance to make a real difference in the lives of former military service members by participating in the upcoming SWOT analysis process and all those who interact with veterans are asked to take part.

“If you are in contact with veterans or provide them services, come talk to us about the Strengths, Weaknesses, Obstacles and Threats around veteran suicide prevention programs in Nye County,” a flyer for the upcoming meeting reads.

Luna outlined the format that the meeting will follow, detailing that several questions regarding the four target SWOT areas will be posted and participants will be encouraged to write down answers to these questions. Once this is complete, the sheets of paper containing the various comments will be moved to tables where participants will gather to brainstorm further on the topics.

“Data is collected by WICHE and compiled to guide the efforts of the steering committee in implementing suicide prevention activities for vets,” Luna added.

The Together With Veterans community SWOT assessment meeting is set for Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. at the NyE Communities Coalition, 1020 E. Wilson Road.

For more information contact Luna at 775-727-9970, extension 204 or email LeeAnn@nyecc.org

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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