Suicide rates in the military continue to cause concern, and a new public service announcement being filmed this week by members of The Creative Coalition, aims to help service members, veterans and their families reach out for help.
Utilizing the arts as a powerful vehicle to create public awareness, The Creative Coalition was asked to take on the project by Blue Star Families (BSF), Health Net and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).
The Creative Coalition will begin shooting the public service announcement (PSA) campaign this week in Park City, Utah during the upcoming Film Festival week. The spot, with the theme “I don't know what it's like...” will be directed by actor Tim Daly and feature celebrities reminding service members and their families that they are not alone, and that help is available.
What: Suicide Prevention PSA Shoot
When: Saturday, January 22, 2011 and Sunday, January 23, 2011
Noon to 5:00 PM daily
Where: Marriott Summit Watch
1st Floor (Owner’s Lounge)
780 Main St.
Park City, Utah
The Suicide Prevention campaign began when Blue Star Families member and military spouse Alison Buckholtz wrote an opinion piece for the LA Times asking “Where is the 'It Gets Better' suicide awareness campaign for our military?”
Mark D. Smith, an Army veteran and the executive director for Blue Star Families, acknowledged the need for help, "The suicide rate among our soldiers and their families is at a record high. As Americans, we have an obligation and responsibility to take care of the men and women who volunteer to sacrifice for our country. We hope this public service campaign will help military families realize they have somewhere to turn for confidential help.”
Kathy Roth-Douquet, military spouse and co-founder of Blue Star Families, noted, “Our military service members and their families are resilient and strong, but we want them to know that they don't need to needlessly suffer through depression and anxiety. Asking for help when you need it is a sign of strength, not weakness.”
“Suicide is a community issue, not just a military issue. This public service announcement sends an important message – which is that the American people care about our service members and want those in trouble to get help,” said Bonnie Carroll, founder and president of TAPS, who recently served as the co-chair of the Department of Defense Task Force on Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces.
“Health Net believes we have an obligation to those who voluntarily serve our nation to show them that help is out there and it's OK to get help. We say to all our service members and veterans, ‘You are not alone. Your family and your nation need you,’” added Steve Tough, president of Health Net’s Government and Specialty division, which includes Health Net Federal Services.
About Blue Star Families (http://BlueStarFam.org)
Blue Star Families is a national nonprofit organization of military families from all ranks and services, including guard and reserves. The Blue Star Families mission is to support, connect and empower military families. In addition to morale and empowerment programs, Blue Star Families raises awareness of the challenges and strengths of military family life and works to make military life more sustainable. Membership includes military spouses, children and parents as well as service members, veterans and civilians.
About The Creative Coalition (http://TheCreativeCoalition.org)
The Creative Coalition is the premiere nonprofit, nonpartisan social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating, mobilizing, and activating its members on issues of public importance, primarily public education, the First Amendment, and arts advocacy. Actors Dana Delany and Tim Daly serve as the organization’s Co-Presidents.
About Health Net (http://hnfs.com/)
Health Net, Inc. is among the nation’s largest publicly traded managed health care companies, and through its government operations division, Health Net has over 23 years experience of providing cost-effective, quality managed health care programs for active duty and retired service members, veterans, and their families. The company’s health plans and government contracts subsidiaries provide health benefits to approximately 6.0 million individuals across the country through group, individual, Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE and Veterans Affairs programs. Health Net’s
behavioral health subsidiary, MHN, provides mental health benefits to approximately 5.4 million individuals in all 50 states and abroad. Visit Health Net at http://www.hnfs.com.
About TAPS (http://taps.org)
TAPS is the national organization providing compassionate care to anyone grieving the death of someone who served in the military. Founded out of tragedy by military families, the nonprofit organization has offered support to more than 30,000 people since 1994. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, seminars for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, and 24/7 crisis intervention care for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to http://www.taps.org or call toll-free 800.959.TAPS.
Media requests may be directed to:
Blue Star Families
Noeleen Tillman, ntillman(at)bluestarfam(dot)org, (571) 312-5297
Stephanie Himel-Nelson at stephanie(at)bluestarfam(dot)org, (703) 472-6292
The Creative Coalition
Dennis St. Rose, DstRose(at)TheCreativeCoalition(dot)org, (212) 512-8570
Tracy Pendleton, TRacy(at)FMPR(dot)tv, (323) 957-2700
Ami Neiberger-Miller, ami(at)taps(dot)org, (202) 588.8277
Molly Tuttle, Molly.M.Tuttle(at)healthnet(dot)com, 916-217-6171