Women Veterans: Stronger Together - Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island
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Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island

 

Women Veterans: Stronger Together

Photo of the Stronger Together Hope Bracelet.

The Stronger Together Hope Bracelet, which was funded by a VA Spark-Seed-Spread innovation grant to help reduce suicide risk among women Veterans. The bracelet has the Veterans Crisis Line number engraved inside, so it is always right at hand. (Photo courtesy of Snaps To It)

By Winfield S. Danielson III, Public Affairs Officer
Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Julie Mitchell, a Coast Guard Veteran, started Snaps-To-It in 2015, because she needed a business that gave her the flexibility her disability required. The company has grown steadily since, providing customizable jewelry through independent consultants across the country.

The Women Veterans Program manager at the Providence VA Medical Center, Tonya Maselli-McConnell, was working on a project to help reduce suicide risk among women Veterans.

Mitchell and McConnell came together and collaborated on the project, which was funded by a VA Spark-Seed-Spread innovation grant, resulting in the Stronger Together Hope Bracelet. McConnell put together the grant proposal with Chis Giblin, a TeleHealth nurse who is part of the Providence VAMC women’s health team, and Mitchell designed the bracelets.

“Julie custom designed the bracelet, which has the Veterans Crisis Line number engraved inside, so it is always right at hand,” said McConnell. “Stronger Together is engraved there, as well, as a reminder that the Veteran is not alone – there is always help they can reach out for at any time.”

Veterans in crisis – or their loved ones – can call the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and press 1 to reach qualified responders 24/7. They can also chat at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net.

In addition to the Veterans Crisis Line number, the bracelet set has a custom-designed magnetic flag snap featuring the word “Hope,” which is removable and could be swapped out for a snap with a military service emblem or something else, depending on the outfit or the event the Veteran is attending. The stainless steel band can be adjusted to fit.

As part of the grant project, the Women Veterans Program at the Providence VAMC has a supply of the bracelets that will be provided to women Veterans during outreach efforts in the community. Interested people can also visit https://www.snapstoit.com/productdetail/VET101.

The bracelets were unveiled during an event celebrating women Veterans at the Providence VAMC March 22. Mitchell was the featured speaker at the event, during which she discussed the challenges of starting a small business as a disabled woman Veteran.

“This project is very close to my heart, as I’ve experienced first-hand the help that the caring people of the Veterans Crisis Line provide,” said Mitchell. “It made a dramatic difference for me.”

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