Finding Strength Through Hope - Beyond The Blue
by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Marc A. Garcia
December 2020 will mark the four-year anniversary of the death of
Craig Brown, retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt., leaving his wife
Lynnette and their two children to live on in his legacy.
September 10, 2020 - Lynnette Brown, 22nd Contracting Squadron quality assurance program coordinator, discusses a tragic past and her path toward healing at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. Brown shared the story of her late husband’s suicide and how she uses her story to help others as part of McConnell’s Beyond the Blue initiative. Beyond the Blue focuses on taking steps to normalize the conversations that surround seeking help. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Marc A. Garcia)
“When someone is considering suicide, they think that their
family would be better off without them,” said Lynnette Brown, 22nd
Contracting Squadron quality assurance program coordinator. “They
are so wrong.”
In the years following her husband’s death,
Brown struggled with anxiety and depression, which was unusual for
her considering she always had a “go-with-the-flow” mindset.
External battles followed the internal conflicts and they weighed
heavily on her.
It wasn’t until two years after Craig Brown’s
death that Lynette Brown’s healing process began. Brown reached out
to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors organization where
she was offered to be a part of Home Base, a tragedy assistance
“I thought I could handle it and was good to go. I
thought I could move on and put it all in my past, but I started
having nightmares and was unable to sleep.”
Home Base and
TAPS collaborate to offer survivors of traumatic loss combined
evidence-based treatment for post-traumatic stress and complicated
grief. The programs allowed Lynette Brown to connect with other
individuals who had experienced the same trauma, allowing her to
“I think we’re doing good and moving on, we
are trying to find ways to honor Craig,” said Brown.
receiving therapy, Brown has continued to alleviate her grief and
sharing her story is part of her own personal growth. As a suicide
loss survivor, Brown hopes her story can be used to help others and
embolden them to seek help.
Brown encourages leadership and
friends to reach out and communicate with peers because suicide
prevention is the responsibility of everyone. As Airmen, we are
committed to building a strong community.
are depressed or in that situation wear a mask, a very thick mask,”
Brown said people need to connect with one
another because supervisors and friends are going to want to talk to
you about concerns you have on any given day, rather than receive a
phone call of your suicide death.
There are avenues on and
off base that support Airmen that may be struggling with suicidal
thoughts, but Brown placed an emphasis on the action of pursuing
help to relieve the stresses of life.
“I feel that now I
don’t need to dwell on the fact that he did this, but try and help
others going through the same situations,” said Brown.
McConnell’s Beyond the Blue initiative takes steps to normalize
help-seeking behaviors. These stories communicate struggles and
create conversations that go below the surface.
If you or a fellow military member you know is struggling with
suicidal thoughts contact the Military Crisis Line at
1-800-273-8255, then press 1, or access the online chat by texting
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