The next event in SpeakUp ReachOut’s suicide prevention educational series is the virtual screening of “Almost Sunrise: Hope is the Horizon.” The Emmy-nominated documentary created by Iraq veterans Anthony Anderson and Tom Voss is a feature-length movie about resilience and recovery.
Haunted by combat experiences, Anderson and Voss embark on a meditative pilgrimmage (a 2,700-mile walk) to help them deal with suicide ideation caused by moral injury. Moral injury is the damage done to a person’s conscience or moral compass when that person perpetrates, witnesses or fails to prevent acts that conflict with his or her own moral beliefs, values or ethical codes of conduct.
The goals of their trek are twofold: to learn to heal for themselves, but also to raise awareness about the staggering rates of suicide among veterans in the United States.
During their “Almost Sunrise” journey, Voss learns about mindfulness-breathing techniques at the Project Welcome Home Troops Power Breath Meditation Workshop. The new skills learned at the workshop help his overall mental health improve and gave him a renewed sense of connection and purpose.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there is a great deal of overlap between moral injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“PTSD is an invisible behavioral health issue that affects many people, not just veterans,” said Pat Hammon, an RN and Eagle County’s Veteran Service Officer. “It can result from any major trauma such as a severe car accident or a house fire. But, it is most commonly known for its frequent occurrence in combat veterans. ’Almost Sunrise’ is very informative about the effects of PTSD on veterans and their families. The information shared will be helpful for all citizens to be sensitive to, especially since we all need to be more aware of suicide prevention in our community.”
The 97-minute documentary will be screened virtually (via Zoom) on March 31, at 6 pm. SURO encourages veterans, family members and anyone interested in learning more about the effects of moral injury and alternative methods of healing to attend this free event.
After the movie, there will be a panel discussion moderated by SURO. Panelists include Voss and Anderson from “Almost Sunrise” as well as local veterans Commander Reed, Cory Diss and Toby Baldwin. There will also be an opportunity for questions from the audience.
SpeakUp ReachOut, founded in 2009, exists to prevent suicide prevention in the Eagle River Valley through training, awareness and hope. Visit speakupreachout.org to learn more. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call The Hope Center of the Eagle Valley at 970-306-HOPE (4673) or Colorado Crisis Services at 844-493-8255.
“Almost Sunrise: Hope Is on The Horizon“
Cost: Free virtual documentary screening
When: March 31 at 6:00-8:30 pm (veteran panel discussion to follow movie screening)
Who should attend: Veterans, those who support veterans, families of veterans and anyone interested in learning about resilience and hope as it relates to mental health issues
Register: Visit speakupreachout.org/educational-events/almost-sunrise to register, which is mandatory