“Prior to deployment, service men and women are trained in basic first aid so that we are equipped to address the physical wounds of battle. When the shooting stops, different challenges begin for many of us. We live with the emotional wounds of war,” said Tousha Paxton-Barnes.
Tousha was deployed to Afghanistan with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. After coming back home to Texas, she was ready for a fresh start. But, symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) set in and she didn’t know what to do or how to recover.
Tousha struggled with these challenges until a close friend recognized the warning signs and symptoms and physically grabbed her by the arm to get the help she needed.
She is not alone. Nearly one in four active duty members show signs of a mental health condition. And about 18.5 percent of service members returning from Iraq or Afghanistan have PTSD or depression.
Mental Health First Aid can help. MHFA has a specific module for veterans, military members and their families that teaches people in this community how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
The training focuses on military culture and the specific risk factors faced by many service members and their families, such as mental and physical trauma, stress, separation, etc. It also teaches you how to break down the stigma associated with substance use disorders and mental illnesses like anxiety, depression and PTSD so you can have an open and honest conversation with your loved ones and provides information on where to go for additional help.
Tousha got the support she needed and today is helping other veterans in her local community connect to resources and establish camaraderie, trust and hope. You can too.
Learn more about Mental Health First Aid for Veterans and take a course today. Choose to #BeTheDifference for yourself and for veterans, military members and families around you.