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The United States veteran suicide rate is 22 suicides a day and, in 2012, more active duty military personnel died from suicide than in combat.

In response to this data, on March 20, as part of their Veteran’s Suicide Prevention Initiative, Community Support Network (CSN) is launching phase one of their Veterans Suicide Prevention Initiative.

In partnerships with ‘Some Gave All’: The Joey Graves Foundation, Give an Hour, and the Veterans Administration, phase one of the initiative is a website www.thenextchallenge.net dedicated to the ‘brave spirit of veterans who have shown courage in the face of incredible challenges.’

The goal is to encourage veterans and active duty military to reach out for help when they need it and to provide a place where they can find vital resources that will help them to reconnect to their communities and to civilian life.

The Next Challenge web site www.thenextchallenge.net also provides links to counseling, employment, and other resources for veterans who are struggling to integrate their wartime experiences with civilian life.

According to the US Census Bureau, there are 21.8 million veterans in the United States. Phase two of the Veteran’s Suicide Prevention project will be the Veterans Integration Project. This phase will kick off with an innovative equine program that is designed to provide veterans and their families with opportunities for insight and resolution as they reintegrate back into their community.

Through CSN’s partnership with the Horses Building Communities program, veterans will have access to specially guided horsemanship activities. Designed and facilitated by licensed mental health professionals, these activities will promote mental, emotional and relational health by helping them recognize and learn to manage both emotional and physiological responses to stress.

For more than forty years, CSN has been providing support, training for independent living, and housing for Sonoma County residents facing mental health challenges and homelessness. CSN provides housing in 10 residences across the county with case managers who deliver appropriate levels of support and training according to the needs of their clients.  The aim is to provide safe homes, and work towards independent living for all of them.

Give an Hour is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to meeting the mental health needs of military personnel, their families, and the communities affected by the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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