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Soldiers Project Sacramento: Need for therapists and the ‘invisible wounds of war’

If it takes a village to raise a child, it’s not surprising that a host of dedicated volunteers, charitable organizations, tech-savvy individuals and the Internet was required to put The Soldiers Project/Sacramento on television and computer screens worldwide.

The non-profit organization, which provides free, confidential mental health services to active-duty military and veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and their loved ones, recently released a series of three 30-second public service announcements.

The video trio focuses on areas of chief importance to The Soldiers Project:

  • Recruiting volunteer therapists to treat the thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress.
  • Publicizing the organization’s Family Ties and Peer2Peer programs that assist the often-forgotten loved ones who struggle with family members’ deployments and “invisible wounds of war.”
  • Educating the general public about the symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

The three videos can be viewed on YouTube and also on The Soldiers Project/Sacramento website.

“We began the production process about eight months ago and it was truly a labor of love,” said TSP/Sacramento program manager Becca Bettis, whose sons Tyler and Lee appear in one of the 30-second spots. “The collaboration between our funding partner and our volunteers has created a package of public service announcements that will help us get our message out.”

A grant from the Placer Community Foundation financed the making of the PSAs, which were filmed and edited under the direction of Tom Keith, director of video operations at SoundPros & Video in Roseville. Becci Angell, TSP/Sacramento’s media/communications volunteer, wrote the scripts and Internet placement was achieved by webmaster Kevin Blanchard. Music was generously provided by singer/songwriter Jason Moon, whose haunting melody “Trying to Find My Way Home” is featured in all three spots.

Starring in the video series were Dirk Ellena, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and his wife Courtney; Hernan Mendoza, also a Marine vet and TSP volunteer; Sandy Robinson, program director of the Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center in Lincoln, where two of the videos were filmed; Lighthouse staffers Veronica Hernandez, Santiago Magana and Ana Roa; Anthony McIssac and Leah Dougherty.

Other airings of the public service announcements will soon begin on a number of Sacramento television stations. A radio version of the spots will also be heard in the near future on Clear Channel stations in the region.

The Soldiers Project/Sacramento, named in 2012 by the White House as one of the nation’s top 20 military service organizations, is comprised of about 45 volunteer therapists who last year gave nearly 1,000 hours of free treatment to soldiers and their families. Its unlimited services go beyond those provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs medical system.

Providing services throughout the greater Sacramento-Placer region, TSP also offers support for military dependents and other loved ones through its Family Ties group therapy program and Peer2Peer program.

For more information about The Soldiers Project/Sacramento and its programs, visit www.tspsacramento.org. To be connected with a therapist, call locally 916-792-3728 or toll-free 877-557-5888 or e-mail Sacramento@TheSoldiersProject.org.









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