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 90 minutes 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.

The goal of the challenge is to build the community’s awareness about the unique needs of service members, veterans, and their families while empowering everyone to be more supportive of those who serve. Military Strong also aims to prevent suicide among this population.

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 in Lewis and Clark County.

What is “Military Strong?”

From now to Veterans Day 2020, organizations, businesses, schools, government offices, and many others in the area will challenge each other to become Military Strong by taking five free online courses and then referring other agencies to do the same. The program started last May, with 35 local organizations participating in the first year and trained more than 1,000 people.

Created by PsychArmor Institute, these Veteran-ready certification courses are each 15 – 25 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
  • S.A.V.E. (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education)

To qualify as Military Strong, your organization must have 50 percent of your staff members complete the online training. You can refer other organizations to participate at any point in the 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, private provider, organization, school, government agency, medical facility, club, or group can participate in the Military Strong Challenge.  There are two ways to join the movement:
    • Either your agency will be referred by another to become Military Strong. If that occurs, the Lewis and Clark Suicide Prevention Coordinator will contact your team.
    • OR you can contact jhegstrom@lccountymt.gov to nominate yourselves. Just like referred agencies, self-nominating entities can refer others to participate once they onboard. You can refer others at any point in the challenge and ask you to pick at least two.

2. Once your agency is referred or self-nominates, you will be contacted by the Lewis and Clark Public Health suicide prevention coordinator with an onboarding form and an FAQ. You will also be provided with suggested social media posts to share your Military Strong pride. The Lewis and Clark Suicide Prevention Coalition will even acknowledge your participation via its Facebook page @lcsuicideprevention.

3.  Once you fill out and send the onboarding form to jhegstrom@lccountymt.gov, you will receive a custom URL to the PsychArmor website, along with a template letter for staff with the link embedded. We suggest you send the letter to staff ASAP so employees can register through the URL and start viewing the five assigned modules.

4. Once 50 percent of your employees complete the training, your point-of-contact administrator will get a notice of certification and a reminder to refer two organizations if you have not done so already.

5. 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.

6. After the entire challenge is completed, our partner, Montana Joining Community Forces, will promote the organizations that have completed the Military Strong Challenge at its annual Christmas Dinner. The service members, veterans, and spouses attending the dinner will be encouraged to patronize the Military Strong businesses and organizations.

Learn more about PsychArmor here.