As we begin National Military Appreciation Month, watching a parade—although an important tradition—doesn’t feel like enough. What’s a truly valuable way of reciprocating to those who give so much?
I recently watched a segment on CBS Mornings featuring a marine veteran, Jessica Rambo (yes, Rambo), who is helping others heal through art by literally driving it to them on her refurbished school bus she named the Blue Buffalo. In the report, they cited a study done by the National Institute of Health that states about 41%⎯1.7 million veterans⎯have a mental health need but 55% are not using any mental health services.
That’s not surprising given the negative stigmas that surround mental health and the lack of any transition to civilian life. Plus, our military is trained to be strong and unaffected by war, so there’s a feeling of weakness that prevents them from asking for help. As a result, Veteran Affairs (VA) reports that the suicide rates are the highest in history with approximately 20 veterans dying every day. While this information is grim, it clearly shows an important area where we can give back. While we all wish we could drive a school bus, we can at least reach out, guide and support our veterans by leading them to resources like:
The VA crisis line is of course 24/7/365: Dial 988 and press 1. There’s also an online chat option or text 838255. Their website is loaded with information and services that they are entitled to and that provide safe places to recover from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome.
There are organizations like Vision to Purpose that offer retreats and various services like career counseling and life coaching to help veterans and active duty members transition to civilian life.
The Wounded Warrior Project also offers programs, networks and resources specifically for mental health and more.
Keep it local! Search your local community resources and look for any volunteering opportunities.
Last year, LMD Agency donated to Paws for Purple Hearts, an organization that provides Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy to injured veterans. These pioneers are the first to study and implement canine-human studies to help veterans heal mentally and physically.
Remember, our veterans will not ask for help. It’s your move. Reach out to those you know, and if you don’t have a family member or friend who is a veteran or active duty, reach out to your local community and find people to help.
A communications and marketing strategist with more than two decades of experience, Mary Beth supports LMD’s work with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security agency (CISA) and a variety of other clients. Mary Beth is particularly skilled in providing strategic counsel for change communications, using storytelling and themes to drive new initiatives and cultures.