May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it’s also the month we remember those who have lost their lives while serving in the military. For many of us, these two things may not seem related. But for those who have served our country, and for their families, the connection between mental health and Memorial Day is very real.
For veterans, the transition back to civilian life can be difficult. Many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 20% of veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan have PTSD. And suicide rates among veterans are alarmingly high; according to a 2012 study, 22 veterans kill themselves every day.
Memorial Day is a time to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. But it’s also a time to remember that many of our veterans are still fighting their own battles, long after they’ve come home from war. If you know a veteran, take the time to check in on them this Memorial Day. If you’re a veteran yourself, know that there are people who care about you and want to help. And if you’re struggling with mental health issues, please seek help. There are resources available to you, and there is no shame in asking for assistance.
This Memorial Day, let’s remember those who have given their lives for our country and commit to taking care of those who are still with us.
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