Kristen McKinley

Kristen McKinley demonstrated how the important things in life can be pushed out by the little things.

Photographer: Chris Shaw

Bernard Williams

Bernard Williams shared sobering statistics about suicide among veterans

Photographer: Chris Shaw

Kira Techantanalai

Kira Techatanalai walks participants through relaxation breathing techniques

Photographer: Chris Shaw

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Thanking the SpeakersCindy Linn, l, thanks the speakers who participated in the Living with Pressure seminar

Zanesville Veterans Services hosts Living with Pressure Seminar

Garet Kuecher and Christina Thompson, Student Veterans Services representatives at Ohio University's Zanesville Campus know, firsthand, the pressures of returning to civilian life after serving in the military. Their experiences of transitioning from military life to civilian life and attending college was at the foundation of arranging a diverse speaker lineup for a program entitled, Living with Pressure.

“It is important for people to be aware of the stress and pressures today’s veterans face,” explained Thompson, who was in the U.S. Navy Seabees for four years, serving in Guam and Spain. Kuecher, who served six years in the U.S. Army Active Duty and was deployed to Afghanistan for a year, added, “Not only veterans, but everyone deals with stress. We all have different stress thresholds and having awareness is the first step to coping and interacting appropriately.” 

The two-hour program featured Kristen McKinley, command ombudsman for the Naval Operations Support Center in Columbus, who talked about time management and keeping focused on what is important. Kira Techatanalai, a behavioral health social worker with the Zanesville Veterans Administration, shared stress management tips and tricks including breathing and meditation techniques.

“I really enjoyed her outlook and approach to relaxation techniques,” Thompson said stressing what Techatanalai shared. “People should remove themselves from stressful situations in order to gain a clear perspective on the situation at hand.”

Dr. Amy Untied, clinical psychologist at the Community Based Outpatient Clinic of the Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center, spoke about the role of cognitive intervention and practices to help recognize the need to see things differently. And, Rhonda Radabaugh discussed various community volunteer and engagement opportunities for stress reduction activities in daily life.

Maureen Montgomery shared various skills that she has learned through her work with the Muskingum County Suicide Prevention Coalition and as educator and interventionist at the Muskingum County Juvenile Detention Center. Rounding out the program was Bernard Williams, suicide prevention coordinator at Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care in Columbus, who shared statistics about veteran suicide rates and prevention success. "Williams stated, ‘Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every day.’  I was completely overwhelmed and saddened by that number,” Kuecher shared. “It's heartbreaking that veterans come home safely, but the battle still lingers within.” 

More than 100 students, faculty and community members attended the program held at the Zanesville Campus in honor of Veterans Day. “I asked Garet and Christina to come up with a program to teach about stress management and suicide with veterans in mind,” explained Sara Brennan, staff advisor for the Veterans Services Office at the Zanesville Campus. “I wanted it to be very informative for students, the community, and positive and respectful to our veterans. I am proud of what they came up with for the program.”