Postvention is a real word, even though I constantly get a spell check error when I type it. It's also a very real need even if Bill Gates doesn't know what it is.
Postvention is what should take place in every instance when their is a loss like what our community experienced on Wednesday evening, January 13th in Peachtree City.
In the nine days since the very public passing of Army veteran, Kyle Lovett, I have been inundated with people that needed to talk to someone. Two days ago I was on the phone a total of 14 hours. Even my wife is meeting with people; the demands have been overwhelming. Each story has been unique, but all were impacted in some way. For some it brought back memories of their own losses, others confided that they too had thoughts of suicide. Thus, the purpose of postvention. The postvention model displayed above was developed by my friend and mentor, Dr. Frank Campbell, PhD. The Active Postvention Model (APM) he envisioned has been used with great success in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the past 20 years. The cornerstone of the model is the LOSS Team and the primary goal is to let survivors of suicide know that resources exist as soon as possible following a loss. In 2013 Armed Forces Mission established the first LOSS Team in the state of Georgia; and remains the only one, in what has become a national movement in other states and communities across the nation.
On August 15, 2016 Armed Forces Mission will host the first LOSS Team Conference in the state of Georgia. Early Bird registration is now taking place for this Conference and participants who register before February 1 will also be able to participate locally in upcoming I Will Intervene Challenge one-day workshops at no additional charge during the months of February and March. Venues are now being sought and the dates will be announced soon. For all who have been asking "What can I do?" this is your opportunity. Suicide Intervention Training saves lives, just as CPR training saves those experiencing a heart attack.
The postvention stage that our community is currently experiencing is as Dr. Campbell would say, "prevention for tomorrow." The reality is that a community cannot simply focus on prevention or any one phase of the cycle. It all works together. Learn more in our workshops and at the LOSS Teams Conference.
If there is a church in the community with facilities suitable for a workshop venue we would love to hear from you. We also need corporate sponsors and civic organization to be involved in making this Conference a successful event that will do much to strengthen and heal our community as well as inoculate against additional losses.
It is my heart's desire to be fully invested 100% of the time in my hometown community, but until such time as we have greater community participation in the underwriting of the cause, we have to go where we are called to serve others. In the months of February and March we will be working with Lithonia Police Department, Veterans in Winder, Soldiers at Ft Lenard Wood and Ft Lee, Peer Support Specialist in Augusta, and even Jennifer O'Niell who now lives in Nashville and has asked AFM to train the volunteers associated with her equine therapy center for veterans.
I can't help but think of the words of American Hero, Chris Kyle when he said, "I want to come home." My heart also resonates with his regrets about the people he couldn't save. Kyle Lovett was one of them, even though I was only 100 yards away. Help bring us home that we can make our community the greatest beacon of hope and life in our state and an example to other communities of what LOSS Teams can accomplish when a community backs the mission as if our lives depended on it. God bless you and God Bless the United States of America.
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