HONOLULU (KHON2) — During Mental Health Awareness Month it is important to check on military members who are active duty and retired. 

Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) came out with how the military tackles mental health making it less of a stigma amongst enlisted individuals. 

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Lt. Nicholas Grant, the embedded clinical psychologist for Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, talked about the importance of mental and physical health and how they are connected in more ways than one thinks. 

“Mental health is a core component of overall health, and a holistic perspective is important in order to understand the relationship between these variables and allows individuals to deal with their cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being head on,” said Grant.

He said if mental health is left untreated it can have a negative impact on one’s success, happiness and safety. He believes the negative stigma among mental health needs to be fought by providing support and educating enlisted members and their families. 

“Military specific stigma of mental health has a lot to do with concern of change to one’s duty status, including potential determination around fitness and suitability for duty, as well as how this might impact access to resources that comes with being on active duty,” said Grant. “Folks may minimize symptoms due to these concerns. We must be thoughtful in the way we communicate around mental health and the importance of help seeking.”

According to DVIDS only 38 to 45% of people showed interest in receiving help which is why it is imperative for military friends and family members to support each other. 

“The more we can normalize mental health as a core component of holistic health and well-being, as well as change the way in which we talk about mental health, the more we will see societal change in the way mental health is viewed,” emphasized Grant.

Military OneSource is a free service provided by the Department of Defense to service members and their families to help with a broad range of concerns, including possible mental health problems. 

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