At the end of his third combat tour in Vietnam, Sarge knew something wasn’t right. The Army Veteran started having frightening and severe memory issues. Then came problems sleeping and holding down a job, followed by reckless behavior and rage. Sarge’s mother took him to a VA hospital where she told the staff, “This isn’t even the guy we sent to Vietnam.”

Sarge is one of many Veterans featured in VA’s Veterans Know campaign this Mental Health Month. Through firsthand accounts of mental health journeys — from Veterans, for Veterans — the Veterans Know campaign demonstrates that treatment and support can help Veterans live a healthier life.

At MakeTheConnection.net/MHM, Veterans share their stories and offer their fellow Veterans simple messages of encouragement. They also demonstrate that healing doesn’t look the same for everyone. Sarge’s healing journey included writing but there are many paths that Veterans can take toward improving their mental health.

“I’m going to find a way to get better.”

For Christina, an Air Force Veteran and survivor of military sexual trauma, her journey toward coping with anxiety and anger included connecting with a therapist and cognitive behavioral therapy. “I’m worth it,” she says. “And I’m going to find a way to get better.”

In May, visit MakeTheConnection.net/MHM to learn what Veterans Know and hear inspirational ideas to keep in mind, such as:

  • It can get better.
  • Connection is key.
  • Barriers can be broken.
  • Support helps with healing.
  • It’s never too late to start healing.

This Mental Health Month and throughout the year, Veterans and those who care about them are encouraged to visit MakeTheConnection.net and learn about mental health and healing from Veterans who know because they’ve been there.

By Christopher Loftis, Ph.D., is the national director of the VA/DOD Mental Health Collaboration in VA's Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

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Published on May. 2, 2022

Estimated reading time is 1.5 min.

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2 Comments

  1. thomas chybinski May 6, 2022 at 9:48 am

    where is the app ?

  2. Paul C May 3, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    This is what I know about trusting the VA/VBA regarding Mental Health/PTSD, because on April 6, 2022, I experienced it first hand during an Audiology C&P. Please read carefully as the topic applies to all Veterans. When I filed my claim with VBA a year ago, utilizing the DAV representative’s assistance, I was told any C&P exam is a “Safe-Space” for answering questions truthfully without fear of clinical staff calling 911 or institutionalizing us. The C&P is a “forensic” discussion to answer medical questions and gather information for VBA to later make an administrative determination of benefits, etc. It is NOT a clinical meeting for care. This concept was and has continued to be reiterated to me as 100% gospel by professionals at VA, Vet Center, DAV, White House Hotline, and attorney’s.

    It was emphasized that answering questions truthfully, especially those difficult, intimate ones along the lines of Mental Health, are necessary to correlate accurate benefit awards. The sanctity of VA/VBA assuring this Safe-Space provides Veterans the confidence to not be coerced out of fear of retaliation to then not answer questions truthfully, thus undermining a systemic process designed to promote greatest access to Veteran Centered Benefits and outcomes granting access to the very care Veterans have earned and require.

    Unfortunately, this is NOT the case. The clinician broke the Safe-Space I had been promised as a patient, and contacted outside partners. Please note, in my situation I was not threatening or abusive in manner, I merely answered the questions truthfully based on what I had been instructed to do. Following my immediate report of this incident to the White House Hotline, VBA has since refused to provide me with the written policy and has gone so far as to cover-up for the clinician and QTC.

    I hate to share my experience, realizing how greatly Veterans count on the C&P system. But this is a warning, VA/VBA can NOT be trusted to have our best interests at heart, and will outright lie. So much for the Hippocratic Oath.

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