Military acts to reduce mental health stigma

By Anita Doberman

I asked my husband and some of his military friends whether they would seek mental health counseling. Ninety-nine percent, including hubby, answered with a resounding “no.”

Military men and women don’t willingly pick up the phone and ask for a referral to a psychologist or counselor. Seeking help this way is perceived as weak — and as harmful to their careers.

It’s not a simple issue. The military culture requires men and women to act “tough”: to keep fear at bay in life-threatening situations; to place country and honor first, beyond their safety and their desire to be home; to live in dangerous war zones for months at a time with the concrete possibility that they may lose their lives; to see death and cruelties on a daily basis.

Our military has to do the job because we depend on them. It’s not surprising that with this amount of pressure, someone in this group may be reluctant to admit that they are struggling with an issue or that they need help.