If you are a Mississippi veteran thinking about suicide, The Spartan Alliance wants to help.
“We’re bringing awareness” to the high veteran suicide rate, said Larry Bothner, an Air Force Special Ops veteran, who is coordinating the Spartan Alliance Weekend, Oct. 12-15 at the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D’Iberville.
The event is designed “to get (veterans) interested in doing other activities than sitting at home and letting this PTSD defeat them,” Bothner said.
Activities include a 20-mile bike ride, mini-golf, craft activities and a gala dinner.
The Alliance will present at least three mobility chairs to veterans at the gala.
The event is seeking businesses run by veterans and organizations that serve veterans to participate in an Expo For Disabled Veterans on Oct. 14.
Participants will meet other veterans, and before they leave, they will have a “Battle Buddy,” somebody they can talk to “before they make that final decision to do something,” Bothner said.
The event will also pamper the veterans’ caregivers.
“They’re forgotten about,” he said.
Fifty-five veterans have applied for the 50 spaces available, but Bothner said he would like to get more applications from Mississippi veterans. Friday is the last day to apply for the weekend. The 50 participants will be selected from the applicants.
Interested veterans can apply at Spartanweekend.org.
Statistics about the number of military suicides vary.
A widely-quoted study done in 2012 uses the figure of 22 suicides a day, but a more thorough study released by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2016 says the number is 20.
Independence Corps, whose mission is to provide greater mobility to wounded veterans, is the creator of the Spartan Alliance.
“Regardless of what’s the precise statistic to quote, suicides and attempted suicides among our veteran population must be addressed,” the group says on it’s web site.