Now, because of Mikel’s story, our Veteran Suicide Response teams are trained in ASIST, and SafeTalk, and also receive in-house training, part of which includes material consulted from the VA itself. Not only that, but we are currently poised to have 4 certified ASIST and SafeTalk Suicide Prevention Trainers in our ranks who will then gladly begin giving this training to our Communities. We are certifying our Responders in CPR, tourniquets, and Narcan use as well.
When we are notified of a Veteran in Crisis in the state of Arkansas through our sister organization Vet To Vet Life Crisis Team, our responders do the one thing that no one else does. We drop everything and actually go to that Veteran. We talk them down, and even take them to the VA ourselves because let’s face it, the reason we are so successful is there is no one better to send in to save a person who is in the worst moment of their lives, than someone who has been there, fought those battles,
Over the course of this last year, we have saved over a total of 150 Arkansas Veterans from Suicide by direct suicide intervention.
We tie the Veterans we respond to into local Veteran resources, to include The American Legion, VFW, VSOs, and even to their State Representatives if need be. We do whatever we can to help them through the Crisis.
If we run into problems upon arriving at the VA we have the support of the Central Arkansas Veterans Mental Health Council to ensure the Veterans we bring in to get the care they need quickly and efficiently.
Today We Are The 22 is comprised of Veterans from all walks of life, Veterans who have struggled with PTSD, Suicide, the VA, adjustment disorder, and the loss of Brothers and Sisters in battle. We have Veterans who were horribly wounded in Combat, and Veterans who never saw Combat. Even Veterans who have struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction.
We are Veterans who are sick and tired of burying each other at a higher rate here at home than we did in Combat. Veterans who are sick of not having a voice when they see injustices inflicted on their Brothers and Sisters in arms, but more importantly, we are Veterans who are taking action, and we are united.
Outside of our responses we also do follow up care with the Veterans we help and encourage them to get involved in ours or any other Organization, in any capacity. From my own experiences I know that sitting at home and feeling useless is a major contributor to suicidal thoughts, so we encourage Veterans who join to get out in the Community, take all the training we offer, and get involved in our outings and cookouts.
Ultimately though our real appeal to Veterans is the idea that they will once again have a mission, a purpose, and they will be making a difference and saving lives in the process.
We are a 501c3, and strictly volunteer based. When we don’t have funding our Responders pay for fuel and food even hotels out of their own pockets, or we lean on our local Veterans Organizations for help. The VFW, American Legion, DAV, Special Forces Association, the Arkansas Veterans Coalition, The Military Order of the Purple Heart and many others have been very supportive of our efforts and honestly, we couldn’t have done a lot of what have without them.