Veterans Day and Mental Health

Veterans Day Mental Health

Read Mark C. Russell’s November 9th editorial published in The Seattle Times entitled, On this Veterans Day, where is the outrage over mental-health crisis?

Russell concludes with this call to action:

Honor our veterans this holiday by demanding the president and congressional representatives to urgently do the following:

  • Conduct independent investigations into the cause of the military mental-health-care crisis.
  • Establish a unified “Behavioral Health Corps” within the Department of Defense.
  • End hiring restrictions of licensed marriage/family therapists, mental-health counselors and clinical psychologists to address chronic staffing shortages.
  • Establish a “Joint Services Behavioral Health Lessons Learned Center.”
  • Compel the VA/military to ensure every veteran has access to all evidence-based therapies per the VA/DoD PTSD guidelines.

Mark C. Russell


NAMI | Support for Veterans & Active Duty

Nearly 1 in 4 active duty members showed signs of a mental health condition, according to a 2014 study in JAMA Psychiatry. On this page we focus on questions that military personnel often ask, concerning treatment resources, disclosure and staying healthy during the transition to civilian life. If you are having thoughts of suicide, the Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7 by dialing 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1.

Veterans Crisis Line

#BeThere for Veterans and Servicemembers - Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.

MHA Infographic: Things Adults Say That Hurt Instead of Help

Sharing this from Infographic: Things Adults Say That Hurt Instead of Help

Journal Writing


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Here I am at my parents’ house writing. Not necessarily for my blog, though I did save this to my blog writing folder on my hard drive. No, I’m free-writing for myself. Journaling. In the traditional sense. To ease my anxiety. To use some of the energy that my cup of coffee has juiced me with. I care not how I write. I try not to edit as I write. Instead, I write to let the tension flow out of my body, through my fingers and onto the page.

Yes, I’m writing in Word, not WordPress where I do most of my writing. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I still write for an audience, not just for myself. Then again, I even daydream for an audience, as if I am performing, public speaking, addressing someone else. That’s how I think. I am a performer at heart, ready to please, though I often do not – no, not often, sometimes. I sometimes do not please, even when I try, for I have little in the way of filter. The words come tumbling out and sometimes I walk on toes not meaning to.

Anyway back to myself. Or perhaps not back to myself. What sort of writing would best help me now? A friend of mine, a former boyfriend, a poet, once suggested that instead of doing so much journaling in first person (which, yes, I’ve done over the decades intermittently), that I write in third person. Write as if I’m writing about a character. Distance myself from the content. Make it into a story.

Interesting idea. Not sure if I will do so now. But perhaps I will in the future.

What stresses me out at this very moment is not just what I have on my plate with regard to my parents, their property and their finances, but the reactions of those close to me to the risks involved. My husband Nick worries about lawsuits and cost overages. My sister asks shrewd questions. They have our interests at heart, but to the extent they are stressed and worried, I must not just address the valid arguments they make, but handle and assuage their anxiety.

Day from Hell

Recently my mother slammed the door on her speech therapist. She refused nursing care for herself and blocked nurses from seeing my father. Her behavior has caused both of them to be discharged as patients from home health services. No more home nursing visits, physical therapy or speech therapy.

My parents reside in a board and care near my home where they are fed and cared for by caregivers. They still are seen by an internist with expertise in treating seniors. They take their medications. And, I have requested that a psychiatrist see my mother.

Back to the story about my mom… When I visited, my mom restrained me and blocked me from leaving their room. My husband felt compassion for my parents and questioned whether they received adequate care (they do). (He supports me now and tries not to offer opinions or “fixes.”) I ended up feeling so out of control and overwhelmed that I posted this to Facebook:

I really need a friend right now. Feeling alone, isolated, misunderstood, on my own, unsupported, inadequate.

I received just what I needed – love and support. Here are responses I posted:

Today I heard that my mom’s home health care providers were discharging her as a patient because she refuses service and slammed the door in their faces. I’m working so hard to help and feel so helpless. Hard to just let it be.

I’m stressed out caring for my parents and for my son. Got to me. Just broke down. Feeling better but the weight of my responsibilities remains. Must let go.

Thank you, friends! Greatly appreciate all the support. My feeling isolated passed. You all helped. Spoke to my dear neighbor. In the midst of family crisis. Will be ongoing for a while. Stress can weigh too much and wear me down at times. Sometimes I throw up my arms and cry for help. Thanks for answering my cry.

All the love is loud and clear. The mood has passed. The stressors and triggers remain. Have to let go of what I cannot control.