Use Your Voice: Make a difference for Veterans during Mental Health Awareness Month


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Every May, VA recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month as an opportunity to raise public awareness and reduce the inaccurate and often damaging stereotypes associated with mental health conditions. This year’s theme, Use Your Voice, encourages everyone to amplify the national conversation about Veteran mental health and to show their support for the Veteran community. Use Your Voice emphasizes the power of every individual to change how our country views and responds to mental health challenges.

There are many ways to demonstrate your support for Veterans during Mental Health Awareness Month:

  • Start a conversation with a Veteran in your life. Some Veterans may find it difficult to open up about their feelings and symptoms to their family members or friends, thinking that no one else can understand what they are going through. To show a Veteran that he or she is not alone, you can find and share video stories featuring Veterans of all service eras and military branches telling their stories of recovery. These peer perspectives can help Veterans you know realize that others like them have faced challenges, sought help and found paths to better health and well-being — and that they can too. Learn about more ways to start the conversation with a Veteran here.
  • Stay up to date on Veteran stories and join the conversation on social media. Visit Make the Connection’s What’s New page to find the latest stories featuring Veterans from all service eras and branches, tips for reaching out to and supporting a Veteran in your life, and tools for accessing local sources of support. You can also subscribe to emails to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox, and you can join more than 2.9 million other supporters in Make the Connection’s Facebook community.
  • Share the new “Strength Over Silence” video. This is the latest VA video created to show Veterans that it’s OK to speak up when they need support and that help can come in many different forms. By sharing this video and affirming that asking for help is a sign of strength, you can help more Veterans take the first step toward improving their well-being.

Visit MakeTheConnection.net/UseYourVoice to learn more about Make the Connection, Mental Health Awareness Month, and other ways you can support our Nation’s Veterans.


IMage of Tenhula

Wendy Tenhula, Ph.D., is VA’s deputy chief consultant for Specialty Mental Health. She oversees VA’s Mental Health Centers of Excellence and programs that address substance use disorders, women’s mental health, and the effects of military sexual trauma. She also leads coordination with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on mental health issues and oversees VA’s national award-winning Make the Connection outreach campaign.

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VAntagePoint Contributor

-- VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you'd like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Richard Irvin Miller    

    In New Orleans it’s too hard to get seen

  2. Reesa Holden    

    Being a veteran with Anxiety/Panic disorder, depression and suicidal thoughts in the past, I have been taking an anti-depressant for over 20 years (the same one for 15 years). Up until I moved to Texa, I had no problem with getting my refills in a timely manner. Both Austin and Granbury CBOC have put me through Hell with this. I have had to go through withdrawl (detox) involunteeraly MANY times just in the past three (3) years. I don’t know why the VA can’t get staffing that is well educated on this. Maybe this will help other vets like myself if the word gets out that they really aren’t as sympathetic to these problems.

    1. Edgar Adrian Ivers    

      Just keep talking with other veterans. It will help ease the pain !

  3. P. Jackson    

    I thank the Va that they are finally recognizing that because we are woman soldiers that we do have issue that we don’t care to discuss about ourselves. For example battered wife syndrome and sexual assault by spouses are other soldiers but I’m hoping that we as women get recognized more as humans to.

    1. DKwon Smith    

      I would like for you to pray and ask Jesus to remove the pain and anxiety . The military implanted a mentality inside of use that don’t work in the streets. I pray that you wing yourself off all KD’s. I pray for you to be as strong as you have every been. In Jesus name. You may want to investigate this Jesus.
      I know a lot of people say how can you worship a God like that , and they are right but Jesus stepped up to be our intercessor. My name is DKwon I served also. I came to Christ and 10 yrs ago and he have been AWESOME TO ME. I may not see your response to this but God bless you

  4. Covington, Neal J.    

    I try some of the VA porgram. I found them lot under what they can. I just do not like them at all. They do not help a veteran they just people in a job. All of these porgams need to look into again. I found them not helpful at all.

    1. DKwon Smith    

      Hi, some people have not been through what you been through. They don’t feel your pain . I do!
      The help you need will come from the Lord. He will direct your path look up this and you will be blessed. John 3:16
      Jesus is all we have in this world who actually understand and feel our pain. You just have to turn it over to him. Study about the name of Jesus

    2. patricia edey    

      We have been making life too easy for the devil to sway us. I ask you right now Father God to touch the heart of the suffering and the caregivers of the suffering. Open their minds and hearts to compassion and patience for the people they serve because the person you serve is the mirror image of you.You never know when you will be sitting in that mirror image across from you. So treat people with dignity and respect and for the suffering have respect and show kindness and patience toward the people that serve you because you are also the mirror image of them. Treat them with the kindness that you would show if you were serving them. And lets all pray for one another.Be slow to wrath and speak ill of one another but quick to offer kindness and respect and understanding. Nobody knows about your problem if you don’t share your feelings in a compassionate ways. They just might not understand what you are going through. TRY IT YOU MIGHT LIKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. R Gordon    

    Thanks VA for trying your best to address the issues

  6. J C Ballew    

    The cops at the Spokane VAMC treat mental health with contempt and rudeness. I was in the hospital one day last year and I had a massive panic attack. They arrested me with three of them ganging up on me while one put me in an arm bar. I was held in cuffs for more than three hours. They tried to make me sign a card waiving my rights and when I attempted to write on the card something other than my signature, the one that instigated the whole thing grabbed the pen from my hand, breaking it. Part of the pen scratched his thumb and he jumped at the chance to file an assault charge against me with the states attorney.

    Now that is how you deal with someone having a panic attack.

  7. E.Samberg    

    Veterans with PTSD should not be turned away from PTSD Counselors, COMBAT or No COMBAT. Who’s to say Combat PTSD is more special, deserves better attention then Service Members with no Combat. Been to a center before and was turned away due to No Combat, how unprofessional. I was in during conflict, trained Marines for combat but never made it to the battle field.

    1. Jefferson Lee Williams    

      I am truly shocked at the police brutality that you endured , but not at all surprised – sadly enough . I hope that policeman does the right thing and drops the charge against you. It’s pathetic that he would try and pull something like that . I’ve had panic attacks too and I know hoe scary they are – it’s a serious health concern . I also truly hope that you can work together with the V.A. and your Dr. to reach a good treatment program or therapy that will help you cope . And don’t let the police or anybody else ever try and push you around ..Good luck , Jefferson Lee Williams -[ U.S.M.C. Infantry 1976-79 ]
      .

  8. Stephen C. Edwards    

    Thankful of the V A’s for my care I have received over the years.

  9. Crystal Wells    

    This is awesome… Wendy Tenhula, Ph.D. have you all looked into this?

    New Baltimore Fitness Program Targeting PTSD Sufferers
    Service Disabled Veteran-owned business develops treatment options

    http://www.abc2news.com/news/region/baltimore-city/new-baltimore-fitness-program-targeting-ptsd-sufferers

  10. Jay Windon    

    It seems that every 6 Months to a year My Doctors are being Changed,I cannot understand this. Each time You have to relive Memories that I try to forget but am reminded of Daily. They want to change your meds before they even know your name and have not read your file because they try to give You things You have already tried or take away the things that are working. You never reach a comfort Level with Your Doc because it is such a revolving door of Mental Health Doctors that You see. It is Frustrating to say the Least. I think the mental Health side of my care as regressed in the last 5 years and carrys a lot of stereotypes across the Board.

  11. Scott Robertson    

    The Minneapolis VAMC and the CRRC have helped me considerably I’d never have made it this far if not for the staff, case workers, advocates, and doctors. Thank you to my HUD VASH social worker and advocate Andrew Legrid and to my psychiatrist Dr. Patricia Dickmann for all of your help thus far.

  12. Brendalee Parisian    

    Please I am a woman who has has PTSD for many years and still con’t face the fact why this has stuck with me so long. But with medications and talking really helps my body feel more like a person, a happy person and would like to talk to you if you feel up to it. Please give it a try with me and I will guarantee we will make a connection.
    (email address redacted)
    Please email me back as you are helping me also when we talk.

    Thank you, Brendalee

  13. patricia edey    

    I lost my comment, but the just of it was to never react when you are mad. Put GOD in front of everything you do.Just utter these simple words “God go before me and prepare my way”

Comments are closed.