IDW, Hasbro, and G.I. Joe are Raising Awareness for Veteran Mental Health
To bring attention to the serious issues facing the heroes who have served our country, IDW and Hasbro have teamed up during September’s National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month with promotions timed to coincide with The Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
At the center of IDW and Hasbro’s combined efforts is the G.I. Joe comic book series, based on the iconic military toy brand. The recent seventh issue in the series, entitled “A Soldier’s Heart”, focuses on Shana “Scarlett” O’Hara, a combat veteran struggling with the return to civilian life, who joins a support group and navigates both everyday challenges and tragic losses on a path toward recovery. The G.I. Joe creative team consulted with proud service members and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to craft the story and provided valuable real-world information on mental health and resources for support in the issue for the benefit of readers who might require it.
During the month of September, IDW and Hasbro have made G.I. Joe #7 available to read for free online, in an effort to spread awareness of suicide prevention and mental health. IDW also commissioned original artwork from fan-favorite artist Freddie Williams II as a public service announcement, featuring G.I. Joe characters and a banner proclaiming “Hope Lives Here”, a message of encouragement ubiquitous with suicide prevention initiatives.
Furthermore, IDW and Hasbro have hosted a virtual panel to raise awareness. Moderated by George Gustines of The New York Times, the panel brings comic book creators, licensors and publishers, combat veterans, and experts on mental health issues together to discuss this important topic. Participants include:
- Paul Allor Writer, G.I. JOE
- Michael Kelly VP Global Publishing, Hasbro
- Patricia Watson PhD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and G.I. JOE #7 Consultant
- Duane K.L. France U.S. Army SFC, LPC, and G.I. JOE #7 Consultant
- Tom Waltz IDW Senior Editor, Writer, and Former U.S. Marine