Every June, which is National Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, I find myself thinking of the silent wars so many Americans fight each day.
As an Army veteran, a military spouse, a military mother and counselor, I have firsthand knowledge of these battles. I understand the anxieties and I can feel the emotions those who struggle with this mental health concern endure and I want to help.
I want to reassure the child who fears her traumatic experiences will define her and ensure her they will not. I want to offer my hand to the military wife who is scared and help her through her fear. I want to comfort the veterans who feel they are alone and remind them no soldier is left behind.
No one is immune to trauma and no one should ever feel as if there is nowhere to turn.
Unfortunately, stigmas and myths remain in our society surrounding mental health from seeking help when help is a phone call away.
My team at our clinic and other veterans’ organizations are dedicated to breaking down those stigmas to care. We believe our military families have earned the right to compassionate support and we stand ready to meet that need.
Reaching out can be difficult, but understanding that trauma can happen to anyone may help. Not only veterans suffer from PTSD and its diagnosis doesn’t ensure a poor quality of life. In fact, seeking help may be the bravest thing one can do when facing hard times.
If there’s one thing I’m sure of each June as I consider those suffering in silence, is that taking care of our mental health has been stigmatized for far too long in this country.
Similar to medical cures, we know what works to heal trauma. And I know from years of experience that a wife will be okay if she’s willing to open up, a child will grow up to fulfill her dreams and my fellow veterans will be able to put their nightmares to rest.
So please, if you, or someone you care about, is dealing with an unnamed trauma in their lives, seek help. For our post 9/11 veterans and military family members, please know there are many options including our clinic. The first step to healing is knowing you are not alone and connecting with someone who can help.
Liz Sherr is an Army veteran, military spouse, and Army mom who serves as the clinic director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone Jacksonville.
© 2020 The Florida Times-Union
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.