Organization connects veterans to local resources, brings awareness to crisis line change
The Veterans Crisis Line now falls under the new 988 extension
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A new call line is providing a new way for military veterans in Alaska to get the help they need in times of crisis.
Alaska has the largest number of veterans per capita than any other state in the country, with over 65,000 service members calling the state home. Among those is the program lead at Alaska Warrior Partnership, Amanda Marr.
Marr served four years of active duty with the United States Army and an additional two years in the reserve. After her husband was killed in action the former combat medic decided to move back to Alaska to be closer to family, but that didn’t make the transition easier.
After struggling to navigate life after service, Marr was able to find purpose volunteering with other veterans, before landing a dream job at Alaska Warrior Partnership last year.
“I just felt like I wanted to do a little more for my own community, I was born and raised here,” Marr said. “I felt like as a veteran that there was just kind of something that pulled me to this role.”
The organization acts as a hub for service members, connecting them to local services and opportunities based on what it is they’re looking for. The partnership also works to address suicide rates within the military community, which Marr thinks are being underreported.
“I believe it’s much higher than that given the means that we’ve found the data is being collected,” Marr said. “... But it’s not just the VA, the state or any one veteran-focused organization. They still need to be working on it. But it’s me, it’s you, it’s every member of our community.”
In July, the Veteran Crisis Line changed after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s old 800 number was replaced by the three-digit extension — 988. Veterans in need of help can dial the new extension and press “1″ to be directed to the appropriate call centers.
After moving back to Alaska while coping with the loss of her husband, Marr knows exactly how hard it can be for a veteran, which is why she wants others to know that the Alaska Warrior Partnership can connect them to the resources they’re not just needing, but seeking.
“You don’t have to need anything to be a part of our organization,” Marr stated. “We’re really in Alaska, we’re real people. It’s someone like me, it’s someone like our case coordinator, it’s someone that understands you.”
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