SHELBY CO., Ky (LEX 18) — The Veteran’s Club Kentucky is offering its equine therapy program, once again.
The program stopped in March while the organization evaluated how to offer the service while meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for social distancing.
Jeremy Harrell, the organization’s founder and president, explained getting the program up and running again was crucial because his community was relying on it to help keep their mental health in check.
“It's very difficult because we don't want to be insensitive to the pandemic. But we also have to recognize that we have a larger threat. We don't often talk about the 22 veterans a day who do commit suicide,” said Harrell.
The suicide rate among veterans is 1.5 times the national average with approximately 20 veterans dying by suicide daily, according to the Department for Veteran Affairs.
The program is hosted on a farm in Shelby County. Eight horses are available for veterans to work with, and usually four people will participate in the program at a time. However, since reopening Friday, only one veteran can work with the horses every hour.
Harrell works with the veterans to help them through any troubles or anxieties they may be having. Everyone is required to keep at least six feet distance, though.
“What's good about the farm is that there's no noise so we're able to hear each other even from a distance,” said Harrell.
There is no limit to how many times people can request to spend time working in the equine therapy program. If you’re interested in making an appointment, you can do so by contacting The Veteran’s Club through their website.