Blue Star Families Launches Suicide Prevention PSA to Support Military Families
Blue Star Families and The Creative Coalition, in partnership with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and Health Net, Inc., are joining forces to raise awareness and educate military families, veterans and service members about crisis and suicide prevention.
Senior military officials, leaders in government and business, and members of the entertainment community joined military family representatives on Thursday for the launch of a new suicide prevention PSA campaign aimed at military families and veterans. The new spots, with the theme “I don't know what it's like...,” premiered at a reception at the American Red Cross Great Hall of Service in Washington, D.C.
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 for 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.
Actors from The Creative Coalition performed live readings from vignettes of military family life highlighting emotions ranging from the joy of homecoming to the frustration of reintegration and recovery at the event. Also speaking at the reception were Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. General Peter W. Chiarelli, Robin Bronk from The Creative Coalition, Kathy Roth-Douquet of Blue Star Families, Mrs. Patty Shinseki from U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and Jerry DeFrancisco the President of Humanitarian Services for the American Red Cross.
The new public service announcements are directed by actor Tim Daly and feature celebrities reminding service members and their families that they are not alone, and that help is available. For more information and to watch the PSAs, visit www.bluestarfam.org/preventsuicide.
The Creative Coalition Host Committee:
Actor and President of The Creative Coalition Tim Daly (“Private Practice”); David Arquette (Scream, Never Been Kissed); Emmy Award-winner Patricia Arquette ("Medium," Holes); Jason Biggs (American Pie, "Mad Love," My Best Friends Girl, Over Her Dead Body); Eliza Dushku ("Dollhouse," "Tru Calling," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"); Omar Epps ("House," Alfie, Against the Ropes, Love & Basketball); NBA All Star and Champion Rick Fox (Los Angeles Lakers); Simon Helberg ( "The Big Bang Theory"); Cheryl Hines ("Curb Your Enthusiasm," The Ugly Truth, Waitress, RV); Angus T. Jones (“Two and a Half Men,” Bringing Down the House, The Rookie); Emmy Award-winner Kathryn Joosten ("Desperate Housewives," Wedding Crashers); Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter, "Treme"); Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock”); Alyssa Milano ("Charmed," "My Name Is Earl"); Mark Salling (“Glee”); Marlon Wayans (White Chicks, Requiem for a Dream, Norbit, Scary Movie); and Ariel Winter ("Modern Family").
Honorary Congressional Host Committee:
Senator Barbara Boxer; Senator Benjamin L. Cardin; Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.; Senator Saxby Chambliss; Senator Mike Crapo; Senator Mike Enzi; Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; Senator Chuck Grassley; Senator Kay Hagan; Senator Tim Johnson; Senator John F. Kerry; Senator Joe Manchin; Senator Jeff Merkley; Senator Lisa Murkowski; Senator Marco Rubio; Senator Bernard Sanders; Senator Olympia J. Snowe; Senator Jon Tester; Senator Mark Warner; Senator Jim Webb; Representative Sandy Adams; Representative Steve Austria; Representative Howard L. Berman; Representative Sanford Bishop, Jr.; Representative Mo Brooks; Representative Lois Capps; Representative André Carson; Representative Mike Coffman; Representative Steve Cohen; Representative John Conyers, Jr.; Representative Chip Cravaack; Representative Mike Doyle; Representative Sam Farr; Representative Chuck Fleischmann; Representative Virginia Foxx; Representative Barney Frank; Representative John Garamendi; Representative Gene Green; Representative Joe Heck; Representative Maurice D. Hinchey; Representative Rush D. Holt; Representative Mike Honda; Representative Bill Johnson; Representative Sam Johnson; Representative Tom Latham; Representative Steven C. LaTourette; Representative Dave Loebsack; Representative Nita M. Lowey; Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers; Representative Mike Michaud; Representative James P. Moran; Representative Mick Mulvaney; Representative Ed Pastor; Representative Todd R. Platts; Representative Silvestre Reyes; Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard; Representative Loretta Sanchez; Representative Adam Schiff; Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz; Representative Pete Stark; Representative Scott Tipton; Representative Paul Tonko; Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Representative Allen B. West
About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families (http://www.bluestarfam.org) is a national nonprofit organization of military families from all ranks and services, including guard and reserves. 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 Health Net
Health Net, Inc. (http://www.hnfs.com) 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.
About The Creative Coalition
The Creative Coalition (www.TheCreativeCoalition.org) 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. Actor Tim Daly serves as the organization's President.
Sponsors for the PSA Launch Event include: Health Net, Inc., 3M, Military.com, the American Red Cross, Onsite Health, CNS Response, Elbit Systems, Express Scripts, Blue Shield of California Foundation, and BTS.