Mental Wellness and 5 Signs,
For more than 119 years, the Veterans of Foreign Wars has remained dedicated to ensuring America’s veterans receive the timely, high-quality health care they’ve earned and deserve. And for the VFW, improving veterans’ health care also means working to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the statistic, a
staggering 20 veterans commit suicide every day … and the VFW and its Auxiliary are committed … no, we’re DETERMINED … to raise awareness and change the stigma surrounding mental health.
Professional mental health counseling isn’t the VFW’s expertise, but it’s our responsibility to ensure every service member and veteran knows they aren’t alone, and that they have an entire support system comprised of people who understand first-hand the struggles they face.
Through the VFW’s national Mental Wellness Campaign, we’ve joined forces with the nation’s leading mental health providers, research, peer-to-peer, and family caregiver organizations such as Give an Hour, One Mind, PatientsLikeMe, Walgreens and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. But, for this initiative to be successful … to really save lives … we need your help!
Collectively, we believe in gathering veterans and their families, community members and clinicians together, and connecting in a positive environment. Together, we can work to encourage all Americans to pay attention to their emotional well-being, as well as the emotional well-being of others.
The VFW Mental Wellness Campaign makes it easy for you and the members of your Post to get involved. For the last two years, the VFW has hosted "A Day to Change Direction,” a day of service where VFW and Auxiliary members and supporters help promote the important topic of mental wellness, as well as help bring resources to our communities. It’s a day where VFW and Auxiliary members initiate mental wellness discussions with their communities, and raise awareness of the Five Signs of emotional suffering and the healthy habits of emotional well-being.
In 2017, more than 13,000 volunteers helped hundreds of VFW Posts conduct events across the country, and we need your help to ensure our support for this initiative continues to grow.
How can you help change the dialogue on mental health in your community? It’s easy! From inviting a guest speaker to participate in your Post’s town hall meeting, to organizing a walk, run or road march, or rallying your community together to conduct a clean-up or community service event culminating with a gathering to discuss mental health concerns and resources. There are countless ways your Post can initiate the mental health discussion in your community!
The VFW has also made many helpful resources available on our website. Visit VFW.org slash mental wellness to gain access to tools, resources and information about our partner organizations designed to help combat this critical issue.
To further the mental wellness dialogue, we’ve also collaborated with Student Veterans of America to establish the VFW-SVA Mental Health Stand-To grant. The $500 grant is available to SVA Chapters to encourage hosting an event on campus or in their local community centered on initiating a discussion and raising awareness about mental wellness, and the resources available to those who are struggling.
Programs like the VFW-SVA Mental Health Stand-To grant offer a perfect opportunity to demonstrate our relevancy to Gulf War-era and Post-9/11 veterans … showing them an organization comprised of men and women who return home from their wars and conflicts as better, more compassionate human beings.
Together, we can continue to serve as important anchors in communities across the country – and around the world – to engage, educate and inspire veterans from all eras to learn about the Five Signs and to reach out to those who are suffering.