May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Military Spouses of Strength has kicked off our #crushthestigma – One Conversation at a Time campaign. This month MSoS will be raising awareness to breakdown the stigma associated with mental illness in the military community. Mental health continues to be a national problem, but we are especially focused on tearing down the walls of stigma in the military community.
The military population faces an array of unique challenges, demands, and stressors that are unlike any other population struggling with mental illness. Countless individuals within the military community live with a mental health condition. Service members, their spouses and children often choose not to seek help due to the stigma associated with a mental illness, choosing instead to suffer in silence. This has to stop! Bringing awareness to mental health issues is imperative to getting our military families the help they need and deserve.
Reports estimate as many as 22 veterans commit suicide each day; that number is unknown for both military spouses and children and is unacceptable. Service members committed suicide during 2012 at a record pace: more than 349 took their own lives across the four branches, or one every 25 hours. These statistics are startling and we need your help to raise mental health awareness within the military community to help eradicate suicide and mental health stigma associated with military service.
What is stigma? Stigma fosters negative attitudes, creates prejudice which leads to negative actions and discrimination. The effects associated with stigma can be worse than the actual disease. Stigma promotes isolation, creates shame, and increases stress that may lead to worsening of the illness.
At Military Spouses of Strength it is our desire to break down the walls of stigma associated with mental health issues and promote individuals seeking help when needed. The #crushthestigma campaign highlights the importance of giving a voice to every individual battling with their own mental health and eliminating stigma once and for all.