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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Saving the 22

The Guidance Center Announces Launch of a holiday season, Veteran focused Suicide Prevention Initiative; they are calling ‘Saving the 22.’ 

The Guidance Center of Fort Smith, in conjunction with the passionate commitment, and fiscal support, of Governor Hutchison’s office and the Legislative CARES Act Steering Committee, has launched a veteran’s suicide prevention Initiative. The Guidance Center is calling their contribution to this initiative, ‘Saving the 22, Vets Helping Vets.’ The focus of this mission is to empower military veteran’s to redirect those ‘battle buddies’, or simply other familiar veterans who might be following a path toward suicidal behaviors, toward a practical, solution focused set of resources for intervention, needs provision, and problem remediation so those ‘at risk veterans’ will have a sense of hope, connectedness, and meaning, which when absent, can be causes of veteran suicide. 

The campaign theme, ‘Saving the 22’, is a direct reference to the number of veterans estimated to take their own lives every day across our country. In efforts to remain fiscally responsible, and reach as many veteran and/or veteran represented families, we are partnering with other community efforts already in place. These partnerships will include local homeless resources; veteran frequented organizations, food banks, as well as other Veteran centric organizations. The initiative is primarily an educational effort to elevate awareness for veterans and their family/loved ones, to the multitude of resources available should an at-risk veteran they know, begin thinking that the future is bleak. 

In addition to a multi media campaign to create awareness for Saving the 22, The Guidance Center will be conducting training for willing veterans to equip them with the knowledge and insight needed to recognize, react to, and obtain help for their fellow veterans in the future that might consider suicide. Our hope is that these suicide risk factor aware veterans, can in turn carry such knowledge to their buddies, along with awareness of help resources. 

The Guidance Center, which has 9 offices in Sebastian, Crawford, Franklin, Logan, Scott and Polk counties, will be training staff and volunteer veterans in identification of risk factors, signs and facts that will enhance awareness of those at risk, and provide reinforcement of the ‘Vets Helping Vets’ principle. 

Campaign support materials will be made available to veterans, including printed literature, business card sized handouts with emergency information, and yard signs featuring Saving the 22, Vets Helping Vets message. 

One of the unique features of the campaign will be 9 sets of 22 life size cut outs of the likenesses of military service women, men, and veterans to accentuate the point that veteran suicide is a real problem that affects real people, on a large scale, daily. The life-sized cutouts will be placed in high visibility locations in each county where The Guidance Center has an office location. 

Veterans who are interested in helping spread the word that suicide is not the answer, but that real answers do exist, or that would like to have literature and / or a yard sign, may contact their local Guidance Center office to obtain materials at no cost. 

For additional information, please contact Christi Johnston at The Guidance Center, 479-452-6650 /

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