Veterans Mental Health
Born: April 24, 2016
Purpose: SERVE raises awareness around the unique challenges that Military populations experience and helps connect Military Service Members and their families to support resources.
Current Location: Pennsylvania Military Museum. Boalsburg, PA
Created by: Active Duty Military, Veterans, Military Family Members, and all the professionals who serve military populations.
Sponsored by: The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency and by JB Griffin Memorial Foundation.
A Growing Concern
According to the American Psychological Association, over 2 million Americans have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade and increasing numbers are returning home with complex mental and behavioral health challenges. Suicide and Suicidal Ideation is of growing concerning for the US Service Members.
Veterans who screen positive for PTSD are 4 times more likely to report suicidal ideation than veterans who did not. Families of Service Members report stress, family, and/or marital concerns and one-third of children with at least one deployed parent report mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety.
It is time to bring awareness to the Mental Health needs of Military Service Members and their families. Let’s STOMP out the stigma around reaching out for and receiving mental health services.
Because the need is so great to connect Military Service Members and their families to support resources, SERVE our Veteran STOMPER was created.
Active Duty Military, Veterans, Military Family Members, Professionals who serve Military Populations, and ARMY ROTC Cadets all took part in creating a piece of SERVE. During its creation, we talked about the unique needs that Military Service Members experience, including combat, trauma, deployment, and relocations. We also explored the needs of family members and communities that support the Military. SERVE raises awareness around the unique challenges that Military populations experience and as a reminder to SERVE those who serve our country.
Ultimately after a decade of war and an unprecedented number of combat deployments, our service members, veterans, and their families are facing the consequences of the invisible wounds of war.
PA Veterans Population Facts:
- The commonwealth has nearly 1 million veterans.
- The commonwealth is home to almost 700,000 wartime veterans
- 70 percent of Pennsylvania’s veterans are over the age of 55
- Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest veterans population in the country.
- More than 19,000 PA men and women are serving in the National Guard.
- The PA National Guard has deployed more than 36,000 individuals during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts
Facts from Veterans/Military Families (pa.gov)
Ways to support Veterans and Active Military populations:
- Understand Suicide: Suicide is a leading cause of death for our Veterans. In 2017, nearly one in every seven suicides nationally was a veteran—13.5% annually—compared with Census data that shows veterans make up about 8% of the U.S. adult population. Knowing how to ask the question if you are concerned can help save a life.
- Understand PTSD. Traumatic events, such as military combat, assault and disasters can have long-lasting negative effects such as trouble sleeping, anger, nightmares, being jumpy and substance abuse. When these troubles don’t go away, it could be PTSD. While PTSD can occur in anyone, a JAMA Psychiatry study found that the rate of PTSD is up to 15 times higher among veterans than among civilians.
- Understand Depression and Anxiety. Depression and anxiety are two of the most prevalent mental health disorders. Knowing the warning signs and feeling comfortable in engaging in courageous conversations can help break down barriers and encourage help-seeking behaviors.
Classes such as Mental Health First Aid and QPR can be helpful in learning the warning signs, identifying resources, and finding ways to engage in courageous conversations. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about these evidence-based programs.
This project was supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency and by JB Griffin Memorial Foundation.
Our Artists: Chris Bittner, Marisa Vicere, Nancy Vicere
Curriculum Development: Ali Turley, Marisa Vicere
Our Partners: PA Military Museum, Tyler Gum – PA Military Museum Director, James E. Van Zandt Veterans’ Hospital, Leslie Laing – Penn State University, Eileen Woods-Veteran Affairs, Penn State World Campus.
My name is Serve, and I come from Active Duty Military, Veterans, Military Family Members, and all the professionals who serve military populations.. I am here to serve a purpose in increasing the awareness of Mental Health Needs among Service Members and their families. Together we can STOMP out the stigma around reaching out for help and receiving services.
There is help. There is hope.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health concern or crisis, please reach out for help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text PA to 741741
Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
Trans Life Line: 1-877-565-8860