CENTENNIAL, Colo. --
We've all experienced stress, been overworked, felt underappreciated. We need not have experienced combat to feel emotional pain so deep it cuts.
We're also part of a family, one of Soldiers and Airmen who've been protecting our nation since 1636. And because we're a family, we're supposed to take care of each other. But how?
One way is through the Colorado National Guard's Resilience, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention (R3SP), available to troops of all ranks and statuses, anywhere across the state, 24/7.
Any Colorado National Guard member who is experiencing difficulties in life, regardless of rank, service or military status, is eligible to receive nearly any type of counseling at a number of locations at any time - for free.
"The Colorado National Guard considers suicide prevention a top priority, and all members of our organization are encouraged to get help for themselves and their fellow warriors," said CONG's R3SP Program Manager Chris Neuenfeldt.
A service member who needs help has a number of resources available via CONG's R3SP webpage. For additional help, a Soldier or Airman should start by contacting Neuenfeldt via email or the CONG's R3SP Facebook page. Service members are encouraged to contact either of the Directors of Psychological Health, Doug Bryan at 720-250-1562, or Victoria Howatt at 720-847-9438. Chris Neuenfeldt, CONG's R3SP program manager, can generate referrals to non-military, public resources.
Neuenfeldt, a registered psychotherapist and combat veteran himself, understands the need for the program and takes his position personally - even so far as becoming friends with service members he helps via Facebook.
"I'm always excited to see how willing people are to open up," said Neuenfeldt. "It goes against the perception that we don't want to talk about our problems. We've had a lot of great success stories."
Since its inception in August of this year, the CONG R3SP program has conducted outreach sessions with several units within the Colorado Army National Guard, and will be working closely with both the Air and Army in the near future. Soldiers and Airmen have received referrals to behavioral health, financial counseling, marriage and family therapy, and extensive military career counseling through the CONG R3SP program.
If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you're a veteran, press 1 for the Veterans Crisis Line.
Don't want to talk? You can text! The Veterans Crisis Center recently launched a Text Help Line for veterans seeking help in dealing with the many issues they face. By texting any message to VETALK at 838255, users will be connected a trained counselor to help them avert contemplated suicides.
This service is available to all members of the military (active duty, National Guard or Reserve), veterans no longer in the military ,and family members helping a loved one. All texts to and 838255 are free. All wireless carriers in the U.S. have waived the fees to this number. Further, all information is completely confidential and deleted once the conversation is terminated.
Please see the other links on the CONG R3SP webpage, CONG's R3SP Facebook page and Twitter feed @CONGR3SP, and know that help is available 24/7, wherever you are.
R3SP Program Manager:
Chris Neuenfeldt firstname.lastname@example.org
Directors of Psychological Health:
Dug Bryan, 720-250-1562, email@example.com
Victoria Howatt, 720-847-9438, firstname.lastname@example.org