Past News

March 6, 2017

In Case You Missed It

A 5K with Team Red, White and Blue of Columbia was the perfect way for runners to learn about the 5 Signs along the way. Thanks to Team RWB and everyone for coming out and pledging to Change the Direction of mental health in our military community. 

First Thursday on Main was a great opportunity for the coalition to connect with the public and reach out to those who have loved ones in in the military. Knowing the 5 Signs, and starting the conversation is something everyone should feel more comfortable doing. 

Week at a Glance

Remember to keep sharing our social media this week

  • Share posts from our Facebook page, and post some of your own using our suggested posts
  • Write this weeks blog about “withdrawal” using our template. This can appear in your organization’s internal communications, social media, or blog

Next Week
Monday, March 13, 6:00-6:45 p.m. – Webinar “What’s Next: Moving From Knowing to Talking”

  • Learn more about mental health in the military without leaving the comfort of your own home
  • Hosted on our Facebook
  • Hear from military mental health professionals about identifying and coping with the five signs of emotional distress
  • Receive coupons to military friendly businesses

Tuesday, March 14 – Partner Awards Day

  • Go to our Facebook to see who the winners of the “Social Medal,” “Reach Medal” and “Events Medal” are
  • Each winner will receive a digital medal to post on their website and social media

Wednesday, March 157:30-9:00 p.m. – Panel “PTSD: Shattering the Perception”

  • We are partnering with SVA and VAC to host a panel of military mental health professionals
  • Discussion will be centered around understanding the day-to-day lives of veterans with PTSD
  • Moderator: Dr. Aubrey Sejuit, Army Veteran, UofSC alumna and Lenoir-Rhyne Professor of Counseling and Psychology 
  • Goal: Prompt community dialogue and awareness about PTSD and veterans
  • Location: University of South Carolina Alumni Center
  • Admission is free
  • Register here

Partner of the Week

When driving down Winnsboro Road in unnamed-2Blythewood, you will come across a picturesque farm with green grass, roaming horses, and a big red barn sitting at the top of a hill.
What you may not know, is that this retreat is a sanctuary for military members in South Carolina.

The Big Red Barn Retreat provides non-clinical therapeutic services to active duty and retired service members, and their immediate family members, who may be experiencing emotional suffering due to their time in service — all for free. From Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, to therapeutic yoga and healing arts classes, military members have a unique range of choices when it comes to finding what helps them decompress and maintain their emotional well-being.

After spending 13 years in the military, Adam Smith found the Big Red Barn in search of physical and mental healing when he was medically retired. For Adam, finding therapeutic yoga at the Big Red Barn Retreat has saved his life more than once.

The reduction of pain and quieting of anxiety that yoga brings him is better than any medication. “I challenge anybody, come out here for an hour and do yoga, and see if you really need that pill,” he said.

Adam feels that he leaves yoga class with a clear mind and increased creativity, and he is able to view life as a little more beautiful. Many who use the alternative therapeutic services at the Big Red Barn Retreat have found a similar sense of hope.

Adam Smith, Big Red Barn Retreat Member


Members participating in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

February 27, 2017

In Case You Missed It

Thanks to all who participated in our Pledge Day! With 20 total pledges, we showed the country what South Carolina is doing to change the culture of mental health in our military community. If you haven’t gotten a chance to pledge, please do so here.Also, thank you to Team RWB Greenville for promoting The Campaign to Change Direction and the coalition at the Greenville Health System Half Marathon and 5K. We had a great time cheering on the runners and bringing more attention to the campaign.

Week at a Glance

Monday, February 27 – Change Direction 5K

  • Join us at the Palmetto Oyster House in Sumter for a 5K in partnership with Team Red, White & Blue of Columbia
  • Learn about the 5 Signs of emotional suffering while getting active

Thursday, March 2 – Coalition Booth at First Thursday on Main 

  • Find us at Boyd Plaza at “First Thursday on Main” in downtown Columbia
  • Learn about how you can support loved ones in the military who show the 5 Signs of emotional suffering

 Partner of the Week

vet-on-deckThe peace and tranquility of sailing on the ocean is a stark contrast to the harsh sounds of combat that American service members have experienced. Veterans on Deck believes the therapeutic effects of the ocean are exactly what veterans need to deal with post-war emotional trauma.Located in Charleston, South Carolina, the nonprofit takes the team building and problemunnamed solving skills taught by sailing and applies them to the lives of anywhere from 50 to 150 veterans a month. “Sailing can be stressful, but by introducing this stress little by little every week, the sailors slowly start to get more comfortable,” explained Veterans on Deck Board Chairman, Michael Marzluff. After returning home, some veterans withdraw and find it hard to even leave their homes. Sailing with Veterans on Deck takes them out of their comfort zones and out to open water in order to help them rebuild their confidence. With a variety of sailing trips a week, members of Veterans on Deck can decompress in a safe environment, while also honing skills they need to transition into society.  unnamed-1Each veteran shares the responsibility of steering, tacking, and watching for crab traps. One sailor said, “It’s this teamwork on the boat that fills the void of camaraderie many military members have when they return home.” Even the simple thought of knowing that the group will be there ready to sail every week is enough to put some members of Veterans on Deck at ease.

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February 20, 2017


In Case You Missed It

On Saturday morning, Homes for Our Troops presented Sgt. Robert Barber and his family with the keys to their brand new home in Chapin. The custom designed house will accommodate all of the wounded veteran’s needs. Homes for Our Troops builds beautiful homes across America to provide the emotional foundation our troops need when they return home.

This Weeks Campaign Events

Friday, February 24 – Pledge Day

  • Celebrate Military Mental Health Day declared by the City of Columbia
  • Join other partners and take the pledge to Change Direction on our website
  • Share why your organization is pledging on social media
    using #WhyIPledgeSC
  • Check out our “Why I Pledge” video
  • Share pledges posted to our Facebook!

Partner of the Week

Headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, Hidden Wounds seeks to provide “peace of mind” and comfort to military personnel dealing with combat-related emotional suffering and psychological injuries. The nonprofit connects military members and veterans to the organizations that can provide personal support such as counseling and assistance in communicating with their loved ones.screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-10-07-28-amTyler Illian joined the military immediately following high school. After serving four deployments overseas, Tyler found it difficult to transition back to his normal life.He was internalizing his struggles and putting on a strong face, but in doing so, he began to shut out his wife. Though she tried to support and understand him, she was not getting through to him. Doctors prescribed medications, but the pills alone were no fix.unnamed-3Tyler did not recognize his emotional suffering until his marriage was in jeopardy. Faced with the choice of changing his behavior or losing his wife, he reached his lowest point. Then his mother-in-law connected him with Hidden Wounds.The first time Tyler contacted Hidden Wounds, he spent four hours speaking with Steven Diaz, one of the organization’s leaders. Hidden Wounds put Tyler in contact with other resources, and he learned to talk about his emotional challenges, rather than just take pills to cover up the issue.unnamed-2Today, Tyler finds comfort and security in knowing that he can call Steven at any time of the night, confident that he will answer. As Chief Instructor of the Weapons and Field Training Battalion at Parris Island, Tyler now balances his military career with his loving wife, strong faith, and a coaching position at a local high school baseball team – all because of Hidden Wounds.

Write this week’s blogs.

February 15, 2017


Campaign to Change Direction

Thank You for Joining Us

Our goal with the SC Coalition of Military Mental Health Awareness is to help
you support the military community by teaching people to recognize
the five signs of emotional suffering.


Month at a Glance

Feb. 18   – SC Build Projects “Key Ceremony” for SGT Robert Barber, Chapin
Feb. 24   – “Military Mental Health Day” Declared by City of Columbia
– Partners take the pledge to “Change Direction” on this day
Feb. 27   – Team Red, White & Blue of Columbia Run, Sumter
March 2  – Coalition Booth “First Thursday on Main,” Columbia
March 13 – Military Mental Health Webinar
                    – More details to come — great educational opportunity
March 14 – Coalition “Awards Day”
March 15 – Last Day of Campaign & 100 Mile Run at Ft. Jackson

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Newsletters will arrive every Monday
  • Share social media from our Facebook
  • Check out our website
    • Please send in highest quality logos and pictures ASAP
    • Let us know any events/happenings you want us to promote
  • If you would like your organization to be a Partner of the Week, please let us know who will participate in the interview. This can be a quick phone call.
  • You will receive our educational materials soon to distribute in your space

Let’s Celebrate You

On March 14 we will recognize our partners that have stood out in their efforts to “Change the Direction” of mental health in the military community in SC:

  • “Social” Medal – the partner that is the most active sharing our social media
  • “Reach” Medal – the partner that pledges to reach the most people
  • “Events” Medal – the partner that is most present at campaign events