National wellness campaign brings attention to veterans

22 Veterans commit suicide every day


SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – A national wellness campaign is bringing attention to America’s mental illness crisis. 22News with veterans in South Hadley, and found out what’s being done to address the mental health crisis across the country.

Veterans of Foreign Wars, known as the VFW held events across the country today as part of “A day to change direction, ” a national campaign working to change the culture of mental health in America

Brian Willette, Commander, VFW Post 3104 said, “This is very personal to many veterans, it’s personal to me, I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and our battalion was in an active area with enemy contact…since returning a number of members from our battalion have taken their own lives.”

The South Hadley VFW post 3104 took part in this national initiative by teaching the 5 signs of emotional suffering. This course along with group discussions helped educate the public on issues veterans face during combat, as well as after. “A day to change Direction” hopes to combat the devastating suicide and mental illness statistics.

22 Veterans commit suicide every day and 1 in 5 are reportedly living with mental illness.

George Murray, National Council Member, VFW said, “These veterans need help, they’re evidently not getting as much help as they should or none at all and we need to get it so they get help.”

This national day of service also helped promote dialogue on mental health, while emphasizing that there is help out there.

John Hurley, Quartermaster, VFW Post 3104 said, “Most of us have sat back and said I can handle it but we can’t, it gets tough when you realize you need help.”

Links and information on how to get help are available below.