Mental Health a Key Advocacy Issue for VFW Leadership

New mental wellness campaign spotlights importance of a complex issue.

September 6, 2016

The VFW and VFW Auxiliary are putting the focus on mental wellness for veterans and military families in the months ahead. Recent VA reports suggest as many as 20 veterans commit suicide a day.

The Mental Wellness Campaign is forging new partnerships to better serve veterans and their loved ones suffering from invisible injuries as well as provide specific training to VFW personnel who provide direct services to veterans. For example, VFW Service Officers have been recently trained on spotting the five signs of suffering so they can direct veterans to resources and programs to help them.

VFW Commander-in-Chief Brian Duffy is leading the charge in this initiative.

“The VFW cannot allow any service member to ever think no one understands them,” he stated. “The success of the VFW has always been because of our service to others. It is how we pay it forward to every generation who raises their right hand and takes an oath very few have taken.”

Duffy and others in VFW leadership believe the organization is uniquely poised to address the specific mental issues veterans face. VFW members are known for providing peer-to-peer support for one another, and the VFW community is a safe space for veterans. The organization hopes to better promote this fact and reach more veterans with truly veteran-centered support.
In addition, advocating for federal legislation to improve access to mental health care and transitional benefits is on the list of program goals for the Campaign.