Medal of Honor recipients urge current military to seek help with PTSD tools

| June 4, 2010 | 0 Comments

Tricare Management Activity
News Release

Heroes ‘Speak Out’ about  personal experiences

WASHINGTON — At a time when suicides among service members continue to rise, America’s Medal of Honor recipients are launching a public service campaign urging today’s military to seek help for post-traumatic stress disorder. 

The campaign, called “Medal of Honor — Speak Out!” features nearly 30 video testimonials by recipients who survived the most harrowing experiences in battle, including severe physical wounds, as well as emotional trauma. 

Their message is simple: don’t let the enemy defeat you at home — make use of the resources currently available for combat stress.

The “Medal of Honor — Speak Out!” website provides downloadable videos from Medal of Honor recipients, a two-minute combined montage and branch-specific montages urging service members to seek assistance for combat stress issues that may have become problematic in their lives. 

The public, military leadership and news organizations are invited to download and share these resources with service members and their families. 

This effort is the first time a group of living Medal of Honor recipients have participated in a public service campaign that aims to encourage today’s service members to stay both physically and mentally strong and reduce the tragic number of suicides.

“Each of America’s Medal of Honor recipient has seen the ugliest side of war,” said retired Air Force Col. Leo Thorsness, a former Vietnam prisoner of war and president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. “Yet, when we returned home from Vietnam, Korea and World War II, the military had few tools to help. Today’s service members have access to numerous online resources and crisis hotlines, which we hope they’ll use.” 

Despite all these resources to fight PTSD, 65 percent of service members say they fear being “seen as weak” for seeking help and half fear it will hurt their military career.

“Central to providing behavioral health care in the military is ending the stigma that a person is weak if they seek counseling when needed,” said David McIntyre Jr., Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation board member. “Medal of Honor recipients know firsthand what today’s service members need — the reassurance that it is OK to seek help.”

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society is chartered by Congress, and regarded as the most exclusive organization in the country, as its membership is solely made up of living Medal of Honor recipients. Today there are less than 100 members who range in age from 58 to 99. 

The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to perpetuate the Medal of Honor’s legacy of courage, sacrifice and patriotism. 

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