May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As you may know, mental health is still very stigmatized in our country, and within the military community, this stigma remains strong. Every day, 22 veterans decide to end their lives. This year the VFW has joined forces with The Campaign to Change Direction to change the culture of mental health in America so that all of those in need receive the care and support they deserve. Do you know the five signs that may mean someone is in emotional pain and might need help? Children in military families also experience high rates of mental health, trauma, and related problems. “These are our nation’s “littlest heroes,” says National Home Director, Patrice Green. “Through the eyes of a child, the effects of war on a family can be devastating. The emotional wounds, the financial stress, and the hopelessness of a fractured family are confusing and scary, and they can affect a child for a lifetime.” In a recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, about 30% of the military children studied reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks during the past 12 months. One way that you can help a struggling veteran family is by encouraging them to call the National Home 800.313.4200 or having them visit http://vfwnationalhome.org/help – they may be able to participate in our program and get the assistance that they need. To learn more about the five signs and how you can identify and help someone who may be in need, visit: http://www.changedirection.org/#five-signs.
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