Wednesday, May 22, 2024
HomeHealth & FitnessMHAW - TOOLS FOR SUCCESS


It is still May, so it is still Mental Health Aware­ness Month (MHAM – not to be confused with the popular holiday phrase, mmm ham). Humor (my best attempt)? Yes, the perfect icebreaker to discuss a serious topic most avoid. The purpose of this month is to raise awareness about the impor­tance of mental health, its impact, and breaking the stigma. Let’s talk.

Our mental health, like our physical health, requires care when it is not well. Veterans tend to avoid pro­fessional, medical treatment and self-treat/medi­cate. I think there are many factors contributing to this behavior, two being a lack of knowledge and fear (of what others may think). We need to stop reaching for a hammer when there are plenty of other options in the toolbox. End the stigma, grab the digital caliper, call someone who knows how to properly use it, and improve your mental health.

I was recently introduced to the Veteran Resilience Project (VRP) a Minnesota based non-profit. VRP has organized a statewide network of mental health professionals with expertise using a highly effective treatment – Eye Movement Desensiti­zation and Reprocessing (EMDR). Free EMDR therapy is provided to all MN Veterans (regard­less of discharge status), service members, and spouses. More information can be found online at www.veteranresilienceproject.org or by calling 763-358-2275.

Another precision instrument for the toolbox is Vet Centers. The primary location in our area is Duluth (they do have some satellite locations). Taken from their webpage, “We offer confiden­tial help for Veterans, service members, and their families at no cost in a non-medical setting. Our services include counseling for needs such as de­pression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the psychological effects of military sexu­al trauma (MST). We can also connect you with more support in VA and your community”. Con­tact info: www.va.gov/duluth-vet-center or 218-722-8654.

Please don’t forget about the Two Harbors Sui­cide Awareness Walk presented by Love Life. The community event is being held at Lakeview Park (1st Street and 3rd Avenue in Two Harbors) on May 18, 2024, from 9:00 – 11:00 AM. I hope to see you there.

If you are struggling and unsure about what to reach for in the toolbox, then please talk to your primary care provider, a family member, a friend, or call 988. Resources and assistance are avail­able.

Quick programming note, Cook County and Lake County Veterans Services will be closed May 13 – 17 for mandatory training.

Brad Anderson and Melissa Crandall are the Lake County Veterans Service Officers and can be reached at 218.834.8326 or cvso@co.lake.mn.us

Karen Christianson is the Cook County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.387.3639, or karen.christianson@co.cook.mn.us

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