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.
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.