Karen Smith & Her Mission for Veteran's Health
July 11, 2023
Karen Smith is not just an RN and the case manager at AFP: she is also a gold star mother.
After losing her son, Stephen, to suicide in 2020, Karen became actively involved in helping veterans in the area who may be struggling to find their purpose after serving our country. She works daily to promote gun safety and provide aid to veterans in need.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among veterans, and it is crucial to help them understand that there is hope and they are not alone. It is also important that we provide the necessary mental health resources to veterans that may need them. Karen believes that many people are deterred from seeking help because practices are constantly changing their therapists. If therapists were more universally accessible and consistent, perhaps more veterans would be able to make the decision to seek help when they needed it.
Recently, Karen held a Health & Wellness Walk Fundraiser in Easthampton to raise awareness on veteran mental health and gun safety. Along with The Stop Soldier Suicide Foundation and the Easthampton Coalition for Veteran Wellness, Karen worked with local vendors and families at the event. They provided support and resources like fitness and yoga to help veterans cope with stress, anxiety, depression, or PTSD in healthy and positive ways. All proceeds went to suicide prevention & veteran wellness charities.
There is a stigma around suicide, especially among veterans. They can often feel like they are not fulfilling any purpose after they finish their duties. Making sure veterans have access to necessary mental health resources is just as important as providing service to their country.
We are proud to have someone like Karen on our team. She is a resilient person who has taken something tragic and turned it into something beautiful that will help enact positive change.