HELENA — Montana National Guard servicemembers are part-time soldiers and airmen at Fort Harrison, which means some of them are police officers, teachers, and business owners. 2020 has caused extra pressure for everyone, especially the Guard.
The National Guard is offering some resources on how the community can support the military community, to help combat the added stress.
“This last year has been very busy for the Montana National Guard, not only supporting overseas deployments, but also supporting the state, and the communities across Montana with the COVID response," said Colonel Greg Olson, director of military personnel.
Soldiers and airmen also assisted the Montana State Prison, after correction officers were short-staffed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in prison.
“So, that higher operational tempo, you know, can definitely take some additional stress on our soldiers and our families," Colonel Greg Olson said.
To keep soldiers engaged, the Army has created an app for their cell phones. The app offers access to resources such as financial services, job searches, and a hotline to call if a soldier needs to talk about their mental health. However, it's not just soldiers under pressure. Children and spouses are feeling it as well.
Captain Michelle Bogden, who is the director of the State Families Programs, says the Montana National Guard Family Program has a website for family members to access.
“The hotline number is something they can call and say, 'I am feeling like this person might hurt themselves'. Where they can do that is 1-800-273-8255 phone call, or do a non-emergency call contact with the police department, just to do a health and welfare check, if they think that is something that is going on," said Bogden.
For more help, call the National Guard Family Service or ask to speak with the chaplain.
Here are some additional sources:
- Military One Source, National Guard Family Program
- Montana National Guard Family Programs
- Montana National Guard Family Support Fund
- Suicide prevention
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255 or text 'HOME' to 741-741.