Carolyn Livengood: Journey for Change walk to raise awareness about veteran suicides

South San Francisco, CA   May 27, 2016 Re-broadcast from Mercury News CAROLYN LIVENGOOD 

PFC. Erik Jorgensen, affectionately known as Jordi, took his own life.

PFC. Erik Jorgensen, affectionately known as Jordi, took his own life.

PREFACE: ESC is sharing Carolyn Livengood’s article so we can encourage more of our SSF neighbors to please come out Sunday and show your support!  Please line the sidewalks and cheer them on. If you drive by, honk! Their local walk will start on Sunday 5/29 at 8am from the Golden Gate Cemetery, onto ECR and then on Mission Road up to SF. Let’s show them some BIG South City LOVE & SUPPORT! Thank you to Councilmember Liza Normandy for sharing this information with us. 

Walk for ‘ Jordi’ PFC. Erik Jorgensen, a fallen soldier we reported on back in August 2013. Each day nearly 22 Veterans take their own life. Please support this awareness work being done by Journey for Change.  To read more about this on ESC please CLICK HERE

 

Journey for Change walk to raise awareness about veteran suicides, by Carolyn Livengood

Journey for Change, a 204-mile walk that is being held with the vision to reduce the number of veteran suicides through community action and awareness, will begin in Santa Cruz on May 23.
Buzz Gray, a Vietnam veteran, conceived the idea for the Journey for Change upon his retirement from Gault Elementary School in Santa Cruz. The walk will gain momentum and support as it grows in numbers and passion to bring a message to the California State Capitol in Sacramento.
As walkers come together as a community, they will reduce the number of suicides among veterans by creating more awareness about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the unfortunate outcome of veterans losing hope and taking their own lives.
Members of the Journey for Change are proposing the Department of Defense (all military branches) enact a policy whereby all active duty service members must participate in mental health screenings. These screenings are to be performed in person by a qualified mental health professional to determine any existing mental health conditions prior to discharge from service. Access to services prior to discharge as well as referrals to resources in their home community also need to be provided to each veteran.
The group is also proposing a post-discharge plan be implemented by various providers to improve and enhance access to services for each veteran based on their home of record. It is also important to change the stigma associated with mental health treatment in the military so veterans can learn new and effective coping skills for combat stress and military trauma.

These changes need to occur on all levels: federal, state, and county.
The route of the walk, starting with Santa Cruz, will include Los Gatos, San Jose, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Francisco, Oakland, Walnut Creek, Benicia, Fairfield, Rio Vista, Courtland, and will end on June 7 in Sacramento.

Public’s support is needed.

If able to walk one day, walk the entire route, donate, contribute in some other way, or want to learn about other Journey for Change proposals, email Buzz Gray at journeyforveteanchange@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/journeyforveteranchange or go to https://www.eventbright.com/e/journey-for-change-tickets-20564175001.

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