By Jean Moore, Manager, Military and Veterans Policy and Support
The National Alliance on Mental Illness and its Veterans and Military Council salutes all veterans of the United States Armed Forces and their families. Thank you for your courage and commitment in defense of our nation’s constitution and for preserving our quality and way of life.
While we are grateful for your selfless service, we are also concerned. Some of you have returned with broken spirits and broken minds. You may feel stressed-out, irritable, depressed and alone. It can be difficult getting through the day; only to be greeted by sleepless nights. Some of you are crying out for help and not being heard.
On this Veterans Day be encouraged to know that you are not alone. Trust that help is available. Reach out and seek wellness; and may each of you be given access to the timely, compassionate and quality care and services that each of you deserve.
You are deserving. You are special. You have a story to tell from which we can all draw inspiration. After all, you protected, defended and preserved the principles and ideals that define our democracy; you embody exceptional character and values. Least of these values is personal integrity: being true to oneself and doing what is right even when no one is looking.
We urge those of you suffering in silence to demonstrate your courage off the battlefield and reach out for help. Seeking wellness does not mean that you are weak or a coward. It means that you are being self-reliant, demonstrating leadership and completing the mission by coming home and making yourself whole.
If you are in crisis, please call 911, go to your nearest emergency room or call the Veterans Crisis Line, available 24/7 at 1 (800) 273-8255 (Spanish/Español 1 (888) 628-9454). Veterans press “1” after you call. You can also chat live online with a crisis counselor 24/7 by visiting www.veteranscrisisline.net.
Once again, thank you for your service during both wartime and moments of peace.
Jean is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, with an honoroable discharge from the U.S. Air Force where she served as a mental health clinic manger and technician.