The Partners of Alabama’s Challenge are pleased to announce the City of Tuscaloosa will serve as the next stop on a statewide tour of Veterans well-being town halls and community service fairs.
The event is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 10 from 2-5 p.m. at Shelton State Community College. As with previous stops in Dothan and Mobile, the two-part event will include a community service fair from 2-4 p.m. and the town hall will be from 4-5 p.m.
The town hall is inspired by a statewide effort called Alabama’s Challenge for Preventing Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF), which aims to combat the continuing stigma Veterans face with mental illness. Recently released data shows 152 Veterans in Alabama died by suicide in 2020, which is a rate higher than the national Veteran average and significantly higher than the national civilian average.
The town hall will feature a host of guests, including Alabama State Representative Neil Rafferty. Alabama’s Challenge Co-Chairs Paulette Risher and Kent Davis will provide an overview of the statewide initiative and a panel of community, state, and federal representatives will discuss their services and answer questions from the community.
“We look forward to visiting Tuscaloosa to discuss an important topic with Veterans and the community,” said Davis, who is also the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs. “Suicide prevention is never an easy subject, but through unity we can work to overcome its challenges. We’re looking forward to having a good crowd on hand as we defeat this continuing stigma.”
Veterans attending the community fair will have the opportunity to meet with VA representatives and apply for VA benefits, file for VA compensation and pension claims, and access healthcare services. Along with teaming with WBRC FOX6 News, the Montgomery VA Regional Office, and Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, the Partners of Alabama’s Challenge are collaborating with the Alabama Department of Labor to have more than 75 employers on site to address employment assistance.
Alabama’s Challenge is an initiative aimed to create an impactful, long-term outcome across the state as we continue fighting a stigma with mental illness. Raising awareness of suicide prevention can help us understand the cause and circumstances that lead to mental health issues. The ADVA is a lead agency within Alabama’s Challenge and assists with connecting with SMVF to provide information and knowledge about suicide, provide support, and provide resources and options to deal with PTSD and crisis situations.
You can learn more about Alabama’s Challenge and Veterans well-being resources by visiting vetsforhope.com.