Service lessens stigma

By Anita Doberman: CNJ Columnist

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” — regardless of the issue.

I know there are many individuals who are willing to consult a mental health professional. But military men and women don’t willingly pick up the phone and ask for a referral to a psychologist or counselor. It’s not a simple issue. The military culture requires men and women to act “tough.”

By this, I mean 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 — no matter the cost — 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.