On Feb. 5, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a special message to Congress about the state of mental health in America. Focusing on accurate and prompt diagnoses, adequate treatment, education and recovery, Kennedy’s letter helped lead to a significant change in the way Americans approach mental health care.
In the past 50 years, America has made great strides in helping individuals living with mental illness. Effective forms of therapy and medication are being utilized and the lives of many have been considerably improved.
Yet the mental health crisis in America continues to grow. Veterans are dealing with the consequences of serving in the military. Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other mental illnesses continue to devastate soldiers long after they return from war. A report released on Feb. 1, by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs found that 22 veterans die every day by suicide every day; roughly one veteran every 65 minutes. Just two weeks earlier, the Army announced that suicides hit a record in 2012 and accounted for more deaths of active-duty troops than combat.