By Hans Petersen
Monday, April 27, 2015
Mental Health Awareness Month
The two things that might occur to some Veterans listening to Nicole and Brent and Tim tell their stories are, Yes, I get it … been there; and, How brave these Veterans are to sit there and tell their very personal stories.
They share their experiences because they want other Veterans to know that help is out there and that Veterans with mental health challenges should reach out for that help. They did and they are taking their lives back.
“My daughter didn’t know me … she wouldn’t come to me.”
While overseas, Nicole did her job and focused on surviving. Back home, her children were affected by the stress of having two military parents. When she returned, Nicole came face-to-face with her families’ challenges and had to deal with her own issues, too. Learn how Nicole found support and resources for herself and ways to help her family thrive.
“I drank a lot to try to forget.”
After returning from deployment, Brent’s battle had only just begun. He turned to drinking to deal with stress. He bounced between jobs and relationships while trying to cope with flashbacks, financial problems, and depression — until he finally reached out to VA and learned how to get his life on course to a better place.
“I could feel myself losing it.”
While teaching a science class, Tim suddenly had a flashback to his experiences in Vietnam, remembering some gruesome things he had seen. Fortunately, an assistant principal who was a fellow Veteran understood his experiences and was on hand to help him get through it.
You can find their stories and dozens more on the Make The Connection website.
The Make the Connection website was created because we all have the ability to influence a friend or loved one in a positive direction. VA wanted Veterans to be able to tell their personal stories of mental health treatment and recovery to as many of their fellow Veterans as possible, hoping those who need help will see an inspiring video on the website and decide to reach out as well.
“It’s amazing what they can do once you get beyond those emotions.”
Make the Connection is a way for Veterans and their family members to connect with the experiences of other Veterans — and ultimately to connect with information and resources to help them confront the challenges of transitioning from service, facing health issues, or navigating the complexities of daily life as a civilian. Make The Connection is an approachable online resource that links Veterans to personal stories from their peers, to VA resources and support, and to reliable information about mental health and resilience.
You can customize the site to reflect your personal situation and experience.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. VA uses this time to raise public awareness about Veterans and mental health and about VA’s mental health programs and resources available to Veterans and their families and friends.
VA Offers Tools to Help Veterans Cope
Self-help tools can build coping skills. Try these yourself in the privacy of your own home to learn ways to manage, and more:
On the Make The Connection site, you will hear one Veteran say, “I do go to counseling now. It’s amazing what they can do once you get beyond those emotions.” Visit Make the Connection to hear more true stories of Veterans who served their country, faced challenging life events and experiences, reached out for support, and are now living more fulfilled lives.
They made the connection. You can, too.