Four Ways to Make a Difference During Mental Health Awareness Month and All Year Long
MAY 12, 2017 | 3-minute read
How we as a country think about and respond to mental health concerns has a profound impact on treatment, resources, and services. For much of our Nation’s history, we have swept mental health issues under the rug. This cultural narrative affects those who need help and creates a sense of discomfort for those who could benefit from seeking support. This needs to change.
Every day, people across the country speak up to support those who have mental health conditions and to address misperceptions about diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Hundreds of Veterans have come forward to share their stories of treatment and recovery through MakeTheConnection.net — and millions more have sought help for mental health challenges. Yet there are still many who have not reached out.
Use your voice to change how people think about mental health — to show Veterans and our country that any of us could one day face a mental health challenge, that treatment works, and that recovery is possible. Here’s how you can make a difference this Mental Health Awareness Month:
1. Share your support online.
During Mental Health Awareness Month, every tweet, post, or share can help build positive perceptions about mental health treatment. You never know who your message of encouragement could reach!
One of the easiest ways to show your support is by sharing a Make the Connection graphic on Facebook or Twitter. Check out our Spread the Word page this month and throughout the year for shareable social media content and more.
2. Hear how these Veterans and their family members found support together.
Sometimes, the best way to understand where a Veteran is coming from is to hear the stories of Veterans who have dealt with similar challenges. Watch the video below to learn how these military families helped each other get through the tough times to come away stronger.
3. Start the conversation about mental health treatment.
Bringing up mental health with a Veteran loved one can be challenging — sometimes just the thought of it is stressful. How will your loved one react? What’s the best way to open up? Explore the post, “Three Ways to Start the Conversation About Mental Health Treatment,” to learn how you can open the door to conversation with the Veterans in your life.
VA also offers Coaching into Care, a free telephone service staffed by licensed clinical social workers and psychologists. The program helps Veterans’ family members and friends figure out how to talk about their difficulties and encourage a Veteran to seek mental health services.
If you’re concerned that a Veteran is in immediate crisis or is having thoughts of suicide, help them contact the Veterans Crisis Line, or reach out yourself:
- Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.
- Chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net.
- Send a text to 838255.
4. Use your voice.
When you use your voice to speak up, you make it easier for others to reach out for support. Throughout Mental Health Awareness Month, take advantage of these resources to make an impact on the lives of Veterans everywhere. There is power in your own voice. Make a difference today!