VISTA’s Social Media Project Raises Suicide Awareness

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Samantha Vernon

I am an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving in Montana with the Global Health Equity Foundation on their social media based project titled "Let's Talk." This project allows me to work toward enabling Healthy Futures in a different way. In fact, I'm the only member working on a mental health project in the state.

Let's Talk promotes conversations and awareness around the issue of suicide in Montana. This unfortunate problem is being addressed by a group of courageous teenagers who are standing up to tell their stories in an attempt to provide support so that other teens know it's okay to talk and that no one is alone.

AmeriCorps VISTA Samantha Vernon served with FEMA Corps in Queens, NY, on projects during the Hurricane Sandy recovery before her current assignment in Montana.Before I became an AmeriCorps VISTA member, I worked with AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps where I saw first-hand how natural disasters and poverty affect mental health. My team and I were stationed in Queens, New York, to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Many of those people were devastated by the loss of their belongings, their livelihoods, their homes, and even friends and family members. Statistically people living in poverty are more likely to attempt, complete, or be affected by suicide.

Creating healthy futures includes fighting against poverty and ending stigma surrounding mental illness in order to prevent suicide and promote positive mental health.

I'll be stationed here in Billings, MT, for one year and I would like to continue my service afterwards, as a team leader for AmeriCorps NCCC, or with FEMA.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is celebrating the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps and highlighting the theme of healthy futures during the month of March.  For more information about the 20th anniversary, please visit the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Resource Center.

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