Are you ready to take the challenge?

military-strong-decal-3-19Join the movement to become a member of our Military Strong community by participating in the PsychArmor Institute’s Veteran-ready Certification program.

Only an hour-long, this free online program teaches civilians how to understand and provide support to the thousands of veterans and service members who call Lewis and Clark County home.

Nationwide, nearly 20 veterans, active-duty service members and reservists die by suicide every day. In Montana, more than 50 take their lives in a typical year. It’s time for all of us to answer the call to help our neighbors and become Military Strong.

What is “Military Strong?”

From Memorial Day to Veterans Day 2019, organizations, businesses, schools, government offices, and many others in the area will challenge each other to become Military Strong by taking four free online courses. Created by PsychArmor Institute, these Veteran-ready certification courses are each about 15 minutes long and will educate you and your staff to better understand military culture.  Course titles are as follows:

  • 15 Things Veterans Want You to Know
  • Communication Skills with Veterans
  • Helping Others Hold On
  • How to Talk to Someone with a Disability

Courses for businesses are listed below:

  • 15 Things Veterans Want you to Know
  • Hiring and Retaining Veterans, National Guard and Reserve Personnel
  • Supporting Veterans, Family Members and Wounded Warrior Caregivers with Flexible Work Options
  • Supporting a Veteran in Crisis

To qualify as Military Strong your organization must have 50 percent of staff complete the online training. At that point, you can start challenging others! There’s no limit on how many you can challenge, but we do ask you to choose at least two.

If you have questions, please direct them to Jess Hegstrom, the Lewis and Clark Public Health suicide prevention coordinator, at jhegstrom@lccountymt.gov or 457-8970.

Onboarding Process

  1. Any local business, organization, school, government agency, medical facility, or group can be challenged by another agency to become Military Strong via email and Facebook. OR they can contact jhegstrom@lccountymt.gov to nominate themselves. Just like challenged agencies, self-nominating entities can challenge others upon completion of the certification program.

2. To challenge another organization, you must send an email to the entity’s leadership explaining the campaign and how to proceed, along with an FAQ.  All of these items will be provided by contacting jhegstrom@lccountymt.gov. A template letter for their employees will be provided directly to the challenged agency during Step 6.

3. After you send the email and the challenge has been accepted, the challenging organization should create a Facebook post announcing their challenge using the hashtag #MilitaryStrong (see example posts in the FAQ). If that is not a possibility due to a lack of social media presence, please contact Jhegstrom@lccountymt.gov to have it posted via the Lewis and Clark Suicide Prevention Coalition.  

Examples:

  • [Challenging organization] challenges [organization receiving the challenge] to join the #MilitaryStrong Movement and show its support for service members, veterans and their families. @Lewis & Clark Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • We want to see [organization receiving challenge] become #MilitaryStrong! Come on and join the movement! @ Lewis & Clark Suicide Prevention Coalition.

4. The organization that receives the challenge should post a response on Facebook.

Examples:

  • We accept the challenge to become a Military Strong organization, just like [tag Challenging organization]! [Your organization] is proud to join the #MilitaryStrong movement! @Lewis & Clark Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • We’re so excited to have been challenged by [ tag challenging organization] to join the #militarystrong movement. Let’s do this! @Lewis & Clark Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • Our team has been challenged to become Military Strong! Will YOU join us and make sure your employer or place of business is also #MilitaryStrong? @Lewis & Clark Suicide Prevention Coalition

5. To move forward with the challenge, you must get the following information from the recipient and send it to jhegstrom@lccountymt.gov (they can also send it directly if that’s easier):

  • Organization name
  • Organization type (nonprofit, higher education, for-profit, healthcare, etc.)
  • Organization logo
  • Number of employees (full, part-time and temporary)
  • Point-of-contact administrator – name and email

6. After you send this information, the participating agency will receive a custom URL to access the PsychArmor website, along with a template letter for staff with the link embedded.

7. Once half of the employees have completed the training, the point-of-contact administrator will get a notice of certification. They can then challenge at least two other organizations.

8. At the end of each month, the Suicide Prevention Coalition will award each certified organization with a Military Strong window cling, individual stickers for employees, a thank you via Facebook, a letter of appreciation from Mayor Wilmot Collins and an acknowledgment in a letter to the editor of the Helena Independent Record, and inclusion on the coalition and PsychArmor websites.

9. After the entire challenge is completed, our partner, Montana Joining Community Forces, will distribute a passport booklet of participating organizations to service members, veterans and their families. They will receive a stamp from each they visit. Then, submitted booklets will be entered into a drawing for a grand prize. JCF will hold the drawing during its annual Christmas Dinner.

Learn more about PsychArmor here.