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WV MetroNews Real Warriors encourage military to reach out with mental health concerns

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the Defense Department’s Real Warriors Campaign is asking current and former military to reach out.

The campaign just celebrated its 10th anniversary and wants to help military members and their family members who seek help with psychological health concerns.

“We are really focused on mental health stigma reduction and focused on ways to increase help seeking,” Lieutenant Evette Pinder, Action Officer for the Real Warriors Campaign told MetroNews.

According to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, 20 percent of the veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from either major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

In addition, 19.5 percent of vets in these two categories have experienced a traumatic brain injury.

Pinder said one of the biggest hurdles for addressing mental health is reaching out for help, which is why her campaign is putting forth extra resources.

Her campaign said that early intervention for mental health plays a critical role in successful care, recovery, and reintegration.

“It’s okay to talk about reaching out,” Pinder said.

“We encourage open discussion and saying openly that this is Mental Health Awareness Month, here is where you can seek resources, here is where you can seek care. If you go to our website, you can seek care here.”

The website is realwarriors.net and offers plenty of resource material.

Topics such as anger, stress & anxiety, PTSD, depression & suicide, alcohol & substances, grief & loss, transitions, sleep, benefits & finances, family & relationships, and sexual assault are discussed on the website.

Some of the topics feature stories by veterans which Pinder said can work as their most pointed resource.

“These are real warriors who talk about getting into care, the symptoms they experience,” she said. “They tell a very honest story. They might say they sought care but then they were deployed.”

The campaign also encourages anyone to join the conversation through social media and live resources such as a live chat on their website.

There is also a 24/7 call center staffed by health resource consultants to provide confidential answers, tools, tips, and resources about psychological health.





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