I’m a veteran. Getting help with my mental health changed my life.
I am a mother, a Black woman, and a veteran. I’m also a survivor of a suicide attempt.
In 2016, I was discharged from the military following a diagnosis of depression. I was in a custody battle and felt like I was losing everything.
Given my background, I knew I was predisposed to some degree of mental stress. But I didn’t realize how much I could be affected by a series of negative experiences in motherhood, 11 years of service in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, and the overall stress of being a Black woman in America.
The stigmas surrounding mental health in my community, the military, and my family made it feel extremely difficult for me to find the courage to ask for help. As a member of the National Guard not on federal active service, I was ineligible for Veterans Affairs health-care services and benefits, even though my depression was connected to my service. But one day I realized: If my depression and anxiety were cancer, I wouldn’t wait until it was in stage four to treat it. After surviving a suicide attempt, I asked for help.
May 30, 2022 | The Philadelphia Inquirer
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