Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program Partners with Alatheia Therapeutic Riding Center for Equine Therapy Weekend Retreat
OLYMPIA, WA- The Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program, in collaboration with Alatheia Therapeutic Riding Center, recently organized a transformative three-day equine therapy weekend retreat.
This partnership aims to provide valuable resources and support to Service Members, Veterans, and their Families, as part of the program's ongoing commitment to community-based suicide prevention efforts.
The Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program, administered by the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA), plays a crucial role in addressing the mental health challenges faced by eligible Veterans and their Families. Through outreach, peer support, suicide prevention services, and connection to VA and community resources, the program strives to make a positive impact on the lives of those who have served our nation.
“The impact is amazing, we have veterans that start off nervous, anxious and even scared of working with horses anywhere from 1,200 to 1,700 lbs., and they start to become comfortable after working with the horses and they are able to think about what they need to do in their lives to move forward and find a new path or set new goals which is great.” – Jim Cook, WDVA Vet Corps Navigator
During the equine therapy weekend retreat, participants had the opportunity to engage in a variety of therapeutic activities involving horses. Equine therapy has been proven to be an effective intervention for individuals struggling with mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The retreat provided a safe and supportive environment for participants to connect with the horses and experienced therapists, fostering healing and personal growth.
The weekend retreat also included speaker Reuben Payan Jr., founder of Powerful Human, who delivered a captivating speech on the importance of resilience in the face of adversity. Payan shared his own journey of overcoming obstacles and emphasized the power of mindset and determination. His words resonated deeply with the veterans, who found solace and inspiration in his message.
Dr. Gene Sharratt, renowned expert in education and leadership, also addressed the attendees, sharing insights on goal setting and the importance of lifelong learning.
Dr. Sharratt's expertise in higher education and his passion for empowering individuals to reach their full potential left a lasting impact on the veterans in attendance. Wenatchee Community Acupuncture also provided care, treatment and learning opportunities for substance use reduction and pain management through acupuncture.
Alatheia Therapeutic Riding Center's Veterans Program closely aligns with the goals of the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program. This multi-faceted program caters to the unique needs of Veterans and their families, offering alternative therapeutic services to support their transition to civilian life. By engaging in equine therapy, participants can experience the healing power of horses and nature, fostering personal growth and mental well-being.
"The partnership between the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program and Alatheia Therapeutic Riding Center is a testament to our commitment to providing innovative and holistic approaches to suicide prevention," said David Puente, Director of the WDVA. "Equine therapy has shown remarkable results in improving the well-being of our Service Members, Veterans, and their Families, and we are thrilled to offer this unique opportunity."
The SSG Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program focuses on various aspects of suicide prevention, including upstream intervention, outreach and education, peer support case management, and alternative behavioral health services. By offering referrals and warm handoffs to resources, the program ensures that individuals in need receive the necessary support and care.
Tony Sandoval, WDVA Program Specialist and Event Coordinator for this three-day event said, "The SSG Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program has allowed us to take a step closer in our relationship with the veterans we serve and ask the tough questions with the opportunity to share resources, support, and hope for growth and healing."
The equine therapy weekend retreat is just one example of the program's dedication to providing comprehensive and accessible mental health services. The SSG Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program remains committed to collaborating with community partners to expand its reach and make a lasting impact on the lives of those who have served our country.
Currently, the SSG Fox Suicide Prevention Program serves veterans in the following regions:
North West: San Juan, Skagit, Island and Whatcom County
North Central: Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Kittitas County
For more information about the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program and its initiatives, please visit SSG Fox community-based suicide prevention | WDVA (wa.gov) or contact SSGFox@dva.wa.gov or call (360) 725-9849
For resources and information throughout Washington, please visit Counseling Services and Wellness Programs | WDVA (wa.gov)
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