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Ending the Stigma of Seeking Mental Health Assistance

votel

By Debbie Gregory.

The four star general who serves as the head of the U.S. military’s most elite forces doesn’t just talk the talk.

When it comes to ending the stigma of seeking mental health help, Army Gen. Joe Votel, commander of U.S. Special Forces Command, openly admits to using the support programs offered by the military for his own family.

The 35-year veteran of Special Operations is leading by example, saying, “It is absolutely normal and expected that you will ask for help.”

“The injuries that our people deal with aren’t always physical ones,” said Votel. “These are hard-charging people. They suppress stuff and it comes out later, and so we have to have the capability to take care of that.”

Many servicemembers and veterans are reluctant to admit that they need help. They allow the fear of being labeled keep them from seeking help. But with treatment, relief can be attained by identifying the problem and reducing the symptoms that interfere with living a balanced life.

Votel wants to stress especially to those in active duty, that going to a counselor won’t hinder their careers.

“If you hurt yourself doing (physical training) in the morning, you go to the doctor and be taken care of … and it’s the same way if you’re having stress or emotional issues,” Votel said. “We want you to come forward.”

When the number of deaths by suicide outnumber the number of deaths in car accidents, it is important to take action. The military and veteran communities have been hard-hit by this alarming fact.

The Campaign to Change Direction helps identify the signs that indicate someone is at risk. If you don’t already know the signs, I invite you to visit http://www.changedirection.org/know-the-five-signs/ to learn the five signs. You could very well be saving a life. But at the very least, you will expressing your gratitude to those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom by showing them care and compassion.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

With a Little Help From Your Peers: Military Connection

Military Connection: onesources

By Debbie Gregory.

Now you can talk to someone who gets it: Military OneSource has expanded confidential services for service members and their spouses through a “peer-to-peer” specialty consultation service. This is the newest resource to support and connect service members and their families with professionals who understand military life.

Peer support can promote wellness, healthy stress navigation, stronger social connections, and improve overall quality of life—all built upon a foundation of trust.

The military’s unique life, in which deployments, relocations and transitions are commonplace, makes it essential to find consultants with similar life experiences. Military OneSource’s peer consultants are  accessible at 800-342-9647. The consultants are military retirees, reservists, Guardsmen, spouses and separating service members, all of whom have trained in best-support practices at the Defense Centers of Excellence.

Probably one of the best features of the service is that callers never get an answering service; a live person answers every call, regardless of whether it’s an urgent need or just a friendly conversation. The peer consultant’s goal is to help callers deal with stress before the stressors get out of control.

Military OneSource has a wide and growing array of resources, so their consultants can connect callers to the information outlets they might need. Although not a crisis line, if someone calls in crisis, the peer on the other end of the line will use all the resources at their disposal to ensure the caller gets the help they need.

Active-duty service members, Guardsmen, reservists –regardless of activation status — and family members are eligible to call the service. Veterans who have been separated from military service for up to 180 days also are eligible. Veterans who are past the 180-day cutoff will be given a warm handoff to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

While talking about stress may seem intimidating, having the support of someone who has “been there” can take the stress out of finding the resources you need.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

With a Little Help From Your Peers: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory