VIRGINIA–(ENEWSPF)–October 4, 2016
There is nothing weak about seeking help
In a speech to veterans in Virginia yesterday morning, Donald Trump implied that some vets who suffer from PTSD are not strong:
“When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat — and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it,” Trump said. “And they see horror stories. They see events that you couldn’t see in a movie. Nobody would believe it.”
It’s an absolute insult to veterans suffering PTSD to insinuate they are weak. It’s also exactly the kind of dangerous language that discourages veterans from seeking help. From the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA):
“Veteran suicide is a serious and rising national public health challenge. PTSD, mental health injuries and suicide must be addressed aggressively, comprehensively and responsibly. Every national leader has a responsibility to use accurate and appropriate language when talking about mental health and suicide especially. The wrong messages on PTSD and suicide can perpetuate stigma and complicate an already complicated problem,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA. “Terms like ‘killing yourself’ or ‘mental problems’, or any any suggestion that suicide only impacts the weak, can promote contagion and may discourage people from getting help for mental health injuries. Getting help for a mental health injury is not a sign of weakness, it’s a demonstration of strength. We encourage the public and media to use this time as a chance to educate and inform, rather than to attack and divide. IAVA encourages all Americans to use this discussion as an opportunity to add light rather than just heat. IAVA encourages every journalist in America to review and bookmark American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s excellent guide on how to cover suicide and to review our comprehensive recommendations for fighting veteran suicide at www.IAVA.org/….”
In the IAVA 7th Annual Member Survey, the majority of respondents who had a mental health injury but were not seeking care said that the reason for not pursuing help was concern that their loved ones would perceive them differently. Nearly 80 percent of respondents who indicated a family member had recommended they seek mental health care sought care as a result.
Words matter. Our veterans deserve better.
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