Local organizations work to ensure veterans have access to mental health resources

Local organizations work to ensure veterans have access to mental health resources

Veteran suicide rates are on the rise, and this Suicide Prevention Month, a few local organizations are working to ensure they have access to life-changing resources.

“I think it breaks that stigma and it’s a huge stigma with suicide among veterans, it’s just that they don’t want to reach out,” said Tim Reynolds, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. ‘Elks Lodge.

The Elks Lodge partners with Band of Brothers in Santa Maria to host standalone events.

Veterans will have the ability to interact with each other and easily access veteran resources, including K9 programs for service dogs, Good Samaritan Hospital, VA Combat Veterans Counseling and others mental health resources.

“Actually physically see the resources and things that are there and talk to some people and shake hands and let them know they’re there so they don’t have a wall if they’re afraid to reach out. hand,” Reynolds said.

The events were made possible through a grant that the Santa Maria Elks Lodge received through the Community Investment Program.

“We saw a need during COVID when the local VA clinic was closed and all of our local veterans had nowhere to go,” said Phil Daighton, Secretary of Elks Lodge.

The $10,000 grant will allow the lodge to host three or four stand-alone events for veterans from across the region.

“Only they know what they’ve been through, what they’ve done for our country, and so for them to come together, interact, talk to each other, that’s important,” Daighton said.

“They can reach out and have more resources if they feel…if they’re heading down that path…and it lets them know the community is behind them. We’re definitely behind them and I know our community so is,” Reynolds said.

The next stand-down event will take place at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge on September 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is open to all veterans from anywhere in the state.

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