A life can turn around in just one moment.


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Maybe it’s the moment when you realize that things could be better or the moment when you decide you need to reach out for help. Or, maybe it’s the moment when you know that help is working — that your life has changed for the better.

This Mental Health Month, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention is highlighting the many moments — big and small — that can make up a Veteran’s mental health recovery.

For La Wanda, a U.S. Navy Veteran, it was the moment when a friend bluntly said what she needed to hear: “You know there’s help out there available — and you need to get it.”

For Joseph, a U.S. Navy Veteran, it was the moment when he reconnected with an old teacher. That meeting spurred him to see a counselor, which changed his life. “All of a sudden,” he says, “I wasn’t alone anymore.

For Richard, a Vietnam Veteran, it was the moment when he began to feel rejuvenated by his mental health treatment. He had tried to deal with feelings of anger and depression on his own. But now, with treatment, he thought: “This is helping. This is working.”

A run-in with the law, a divorce, or the loss of a career could be the wake up call that sparks a change. But many other times, it could be a small thing, the moments that happen on a routine Wednesday afternoon. The one conversation. The one question. Someone noticing. Someone reaching out.

These moments can be a turning point.

This May and all year round, we recognize the moments that can spark a recovery. This is the perfect time to start a conversation about mental health, to lend your support, to encourage others to take a positive action. Or, to reach out yourself.

Visit MakeTheConnection.net/MHM to watch Veterans share their stories about the many different moments of their mental health journeys, from the little victories to the major turning points.

Author

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. Dwayne S Coley    

    God thank you… March 2019, I relocated & left Jacksonville. I was broken in spirit & for the 1st time in 32 years since leaving the Marine Corps I faced my years of battling depression. I was so miserable trying to gain acceptance from people that really didn’t deserve the effort.

    Misunderstood by so many that would show up to my functions, eat good, drink good, knowing their intentions weren’t pure. I’ve dealt with broken marriages, relationships, family relationships & employment issues for over 32 years. It was March 15, 2019 after loosing all materialistic things & becoming homeless that I didn’t desire to live any longer. I was tired of the mistreatment of the Marine Corps denying a valid service connected disability. I so much desired a committed relationship but I knew my life was dangling over a cliff.

    I’ve struggled with Major Depressive Disorder since 1984 while serving our Country. In August of 1986 after suffering mental abuse from a superior Staff Sergeant in my untit, I attempted to alert my command for help. It seemed each time I saw the Psychiatrist & returned to my unit things got worse. It was clearly documented in my Marine Corps active duty medical files I was suffering from depression & anxiety. It also clearly stated I didn’t necessarily want out the Corps, but out my unit away from the abuse. Within a little over a months time I was receiving discharge DD214 labeled Honorable Discharge “Personality Disorder.” I was excited while at the same time confused about what happened.

    I wasn’t explained what this label meant & never given any information for any treatment after my active duty. I was 20 years old in 1986 & felt shame each time I looked at my DD214. I never discussed my discharge with anyone but live over 32 years with mental illness. I had thought about Suicide for many years but not until March 2019 made a plan to end my life. It was at that time of the Baker Act that I begin to get the help I needed. I became my biggest advocate & after researching I learned back in 1986 & beyond the Military used that label “Personality Disorder” to end the careers of enlisted servicemen so they wouldn’t receive the benefits deserved. It was not until Congress stepped in that this label was omitted unless you served in a Combat Zone. I’ve been fighting VA Affairs for years to get the benefits lost for more than 32 years due to this practice.

    The Comp & Pen process is totally bias but I’m never giving up on what’s rightfully due. I wrote my Govenor of Florida Mr. Ron Desantis early March 2019 & within 24 hours Veterans Affairs was contacting me. It hasn’t been a good experience because the representatives has been totally rude. I no longer had the strength to go on living.

    I knew this would be the day my life would end, but God knew my expected end. I didn’t realize although everything appeared broken in my life.. all things were working for my good even those things I couldn’t see. I found myself in Gainesville, FL at the Veterans Memorial Hospital Emergency Room. I was Baker acted & everything changed. People, even though I felt hopeless, Gods will for my life was greater.

    I started loving myself 1st, & no longer existing. I started using the resources through my Honorable Veteran status. I began to take control of my life, health & wellness. I’ve lost 15 lbs to date & my eating habits have been redefined giving me maximum weight loss satisfaction without any surgery. I’m learning by the sovereign grace of God to day by day trust His plan. It is my deepest desire sharing my testimonial won’t cast a judgmental opinion, but many will try my spirit by His spirit & overcome whatever mountains you may face trusting God!

    Dwayne S Coley…

  2. Arnold Cabral    

    I need to have Cosmetic Dentistry Dentist G4 implants who Veteran Medical Centers I go to.

  3. Kara Davis    

    I love this article. It’s a great new approach to suicide prevention. For veterans struggling, hearing about how many others are struggling and committing suicide, it could be inadvertently reinforcing veterans’ thoughts that it’s the only way and that their situation is that bad. This approach shows much needed hope from others who made the right choice and can relate. Well done VA.

  4. PAUL EUGENE SMITH    

    I HAVE DEMENTIA AND DO NOT REMEMBER NAMES OF LONG TIME FRIENDS I DO DUMB THINGS AND REGRETE LATER. MANY PAST EVENTS I DO NO REMEMBER. IS THERE A QUICK FIX OR A FIX AT ALL? PAUL SMITH

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