Today we are featuring updates from our wonderful research assistants who are our boots on the ground in the Panhandle of Florida and Greater Atlanta Georgia. Both of these communities have now been a part of the study for a year and have active Community Action Teams working hard to improve the quality of life of their communities veterans.
Florida Panhandle Update
Kathy Monson, retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker and research assistant for the Panhandle shares what’s been going on in her community lately:
“The Panhandle Community Action Team is growing and the members, both original participants and those who have recently joined, seem very motivated to assist with the project and to address the issues in our community. A new CAT member is the director of the local United Way 2-1-1 program and he is on board with sharing data, both from 2-1-1, as well as from My Florida Vet, a new program that will be coming to the area soon. Across the country, United Way 2-1-1s are sharing with us data on the services most requested by veterans in their community.
Another CAT member encouraged participation in a large Veterans Networking Organization that she facilitates, in order to spread the word about the study.
In February, Operation Deep Dive was presented to the members of the Escarosa Suicide Prevention Coalition, who asked pertinent questions and expressed an interest in future updates; two members of the Coalition indicated an interest in joining the Community Action Team. A representative from the Medical Examiner’s office agreed to a face to face meeting this month and confirmed his willingness to assist with the project by allowing access to the data that is needed for the study.”
Becky Tyler, our research assistant from Atlanta, shares the following update on what is happening in her community:
“Greetings from Atlanta! In November 2018, Dr. Kate Thomas spoke to our CAT team about women veterans and resilience returning to the civilian population after serving in the military. We were so inspired by Kate’s presentation that we reached out to women veterans in our community. We connected with the US Military Vetlanta group which is where many veteran organizations come together to support veterans. This year, we plan to connect with the Women Veteran Social Justice community to further engage with women veterans in hopes of them joining our CAT team.
In the next month, the Atlanta Warrior Alliance will be hosting our CAT meeting and Mr. John Sterling will be our speaker. Mr. Sterling is the Program Coordinator for Atlanta Merging Vets and Players. Mr. Sterling brings veterans and Atlanta Falcons football players together for a day of communication. Mr. Sterling will discuss “How non-clinical methods yield positive results”. Recreational opportunities like his program help veterans engage and connect with their communities, which could reduce feelings of isolation and hopelessness.”