GALLUP, NM – The Navajo Nation Division of Behavioral & Mental Health Services (DBMHS) promoted its comprehensive, integrated and culturally appropriate behavioral and mental health services at the 5th Annual Veterans Conference and 7th Annual Veterans Stand Down & Hand- Up Summit on October 31, and November 1, at Red Rock Park, Church Rock, NM.

The purpose of the conference and summit was to promote awareness for issues facing veterans and to provide the needed information about resources available to them and their families. Presenters came representing and promoting programs from the Veteran’s Administration, Northern Arizona VAHCS, MyHealthEVet, NM Department of Veterans Services, Santa Fe National Cemetery and others.

The summit was intended enable participants to hear firsthand and ask questions about programs and services available to veterans. Serving in the military is a great service but, in some instances,, it isn’t so great and that when support is essential. Attendees were encouraged to spread the word about programs, services or something that has worked for them or other veterans and their families.

As a resource and champion for veteran’s wellness and along with providing snacks and refreshments, DBMHS provided the welcome invocation, presented information for healing and lead breakout sessions. Traditional Practitioner, Kenneth Begay presented ‘A Way of Life to Live in Beauty,’ a Navajo Wellness Model that explained the concept of the beauty way from a traditional Navajo perspective.

During his presentation, Mr. Begay made the following notable points concerning the Navajo Way of Life in order to live a long and peaceful life as it pertained to veteran wellness:

  1. Always have Reverence to your life and surrounding of nature;
  2. Know your inner self heals your mind, body and soul and should respect our right to live;
  3. Knowing where you come from is validating in all relationships;
  4. Learn to be happy, that’s the main part of your life;
  5. Knowing that you control, not use control on others;
  6. Know that you care is unconditional love;
  7. Were you are going is walking-in-beauty;
  8. There is hope and strength and purpose for everything;
  9. The power of words in Diné is very holy;
  10. Promoting and practice everlasting long life and happiness;
  11. This is healing in the beauty way…

The conference/summit also included a 5K Run/Walk and provided vaccinations, haircuts and lunch for all veterans who attended. DBMHS was proud have partnered with the City of Gallup and Veterans Administration in this important event to promote veteran’s wellbeing and the behavioral and mental health services available to local Native American veterans.