As declared by President Barack Obama, May is mental health awareness month – a time to focus on the mental health issues that one in four American’s face. Each year, more people die from suicide than from traffic accidents or homicide. In the military, 25 soldiers are lost to suicide for every one soldier lost in combat. As awareness of mental health issues are raised, the attitude and stigma with getting help has significantly decreased over the last few years.
National Mental Health Awareness month began in the late 1940’s to raise awareness of illnesses such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. During this time, people are encouraged to take responsibility for the prevention of mental health issues during periods of personal challenge and stress. Many mental health problems can be avoided by making positive lifestyle choices regarding how one acts and thinks before issues even begin.
Maintaining good mental health is beneficial for everyone – civilians and military alike.
Earlier this month, Fort Detrick hosted the Civilian Community Resiliency Day where civilians had the opportunity to complete a questionnaire to determine the likelihood of having depression or another mental health disorder.
If you or someone you know is experiencing challenges with mental health, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Civilians at Fort Detrick are able to receive help from the Employee Assistance Program. For more information about this program, visit http://www.detrick.army.mil/asap/eap.cfm. Active duty military members can receive help through the Military & Family Life Consultant Program.