Column: Security Health Plan supports an effort to reduce veteran suicide

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 20 veterans dies each day by suicide.

Although research has shown there isn’t a single factor that contributes to suicides, prevention can be achieved through an interdisciplinary approach between the individual, family, and community. To help support efforts to combat this problem, Security Health Plan of Wisconsin, Inc., is investing in The Highground’s Veteran Retreat Weekend program being held July 12-14 for male veterans and September 6-8 for female veterans in Willard, Wis.

The annual three-day retreat focuses on helping veterans of all ages, combat, and non-combat, to work through post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), survivor’s guilt and other issues. The ultimate goal of the retreat is to reduce the participants’ mental stress and the threat of veteran suicide.

Retreat weekends provide veterans with tools to better their lives and in turn, better the communities they live in. Many activities are held throughout the weekend including workshops, therapy, art, outdoor activities, and meditation. The weekend promotes an atmosphere of camaraderie, peace, relaxation, and fun where veterans can learn ways to cope, heal and achieve the quality of life and relationships they desire.

Skip Klabon, a former retreat participant, Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient, agrees.

“We are in a safe environment and don’t have to explain ourselves. We share experiences and take care of each other with no stigma or judgment,” he said.

Veterans are introduced to many things to help them gain more peace and feelings of fulfillment. Many participants leave the retreat with a greater sense of community from newly-formed friendships.

Theresa Hebert is the event coordinator for The Highground Veteran Retreat Weekend program. She has observed the healing veterans’ experience at the retreat firsthand.

“I have witnessed the healing, peace and positive feelings that evolve during the retreats. The difference I see in the more guarded, quiet nature of the veterans when they first arrive at the retreat is in very stark contrast to the smiles, engagement, and spirit of togetherness that I observe at the end of the retreat.”

Assistant Director of Community Health at Marshfield Clinic Health System Allison Machtan is proud to support events that make a meaningful impact on the health of these individuals.

“Security Health Plan and the Marshfield Clinic Health System remain focused on helping individuals and communities reach their best health. Programs like this can make a measurable improvement in reducing and preventing suicide deaths and can improve their quality of life,” Machtan said.

For more information on the retreat weekend, please visit or contact

Rebecca Normington is a marketing manager with Secure Health. She can be reached at 715-221-9726.