April 10, 2014
National Public Health Week (April 7-11) is a great time to get engaged in joining the effort to ensure that our nation’s servicemen and women, their families, and their communities have access to mental healthcare when they need it. I am privileged to be involved with a terrific organization – Give an Hour – dedicated to meeting the mental health needs of the troops and families affected by the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This week, Give an Hour hosted a series of events, called “Celebration of Service,” here in Washington, D.C. that gathered together representatives of the military, government, and the corporate, educational, and nonprofit worlds to focus on issues surrounding military mental health. I was proud to see my Booz Allen colleagues painting walls and building shelves on Sunday at Veterans on the Rise, an organization dedicated to eliminating veteran homelessness.
On Tuesday, Give an Hour hosted a fascinating, free series of panels designed to train the next generation of mental health professionals on the mental health issues facing military families. As my colleague Susan Penfield noted in her April 1 blog, mental illness is one of the top three conditions identified by Healthy People 2020 that can lead to disability.
As our servicemen and women return from engagements overseas, they deserve our nation’s support and access to the very best care. It has perhaps never been more important for us as individuals to join in and help, and I was energized to see so many committed men and women at the Give an Hour events this week. I encourage my colleagues to join me in working to address the “invisible wounds” suffered by our military men and women as we welcome them back home.