Improving warrior mental health and preventing suicide are two of Wounded Warrior Project’s top priorities. In WWP’s Annual Warrior Survey, veteran respondents reported that mental health issues are more than twice as common as physical ones.
Seeking help for mental health is brave. Wounded Warrior Project is helping warriors, family members, and caregivers feel more comfortable asking for help with invisible wounds of service. You don’t have to do this alone.
There is hope and help. Together, we can #CombatStigma.
Joey Pierstorff remembers the struggles he had during and after his time in the military. He joined the Army at just 18 years old, motivated to serve after the 9/11 attacks. He spent 11 years in the service, deploying multiple times to Iraq. After leaving the service, many veterans, like Joey, struggle to figure out the next phase of their lives. Through WWP, Joey was able to connect with other veterans, and share his experiences. #CombatStigma
Warrior Story: Dan Nevins & Dan Smee
Dan Smee served as a combat medic in Iraq. In 2004, an IED detonated beneath a Humvee in Iraq. Staff Sgt. Dan Nevins was severely injured in the attack. He suffered a TBI and had to have his legs amputated, but Dan Smee saved his life. While Dan Nevins survived because of the great work of his combat medic, Dan Smee still struggled with the trauma from that day. Dan had the chance to reconnect again with his Army buddy, and his life would change from that point forward. #CombatStigma
Warrior Dan Miller shares his story of hope
After his retirement, doctors diagnosed Dan with TBI and PTSD. The urge to quit entered Dan’s mind and he contemplated ending his life. Amazingly, a brochure for WWP interrupted his suicide attempt. Dan’s message to his fellow warriors is a message of hope: “I will pick you up and put you on my shoulder. We will move forward together. If I begin to falter, another veteran will come along and help us both.” #CombatStigma
Caregiver Connections: Jennifer Jenkins
Jennifer Jenkins is a full-time caregiver to her brother and understands the complexities of being in a caregiver role. “The bomb that blew [my brother] up, it really kind of blew up my life right along with it,” she says. After finding resources through Wounded Warrior Project, the connections Jennifer made became invaluable. #CombatStigma
Tools for Recovery: Sal Gonzalez
Sal Gonzalez returned to the states surrounded by his family in a hospital bed. He came home from Iraq with both visible and invisible wounds. “If I can get through the things I’ve gone through – losing a limb, overcoming depression and thoughts of suicide – you can do it.” He uses his passion for music to continue his recovery and to inspire other veterans to continue living their lives. #CombatStigma
#CombatStigma: Sergio Alfaro
When Sergio Alfaro came back home from Iraq, he had trouble processing the trauma he was facing. Through the help of Warrior Care Network, he understood his emotions and got to hear the stories of of other veterans going through similar feelings.
Two Marines Reunite Through WWP
Marine veteran Nick Bennett was severely injured in a rocket attack while deployed to Iraq. His Gunnery Sergeant, Dan Miller, lived with the guilt of putting him in harm's way. After years of being apart and with the help of WWP, Dan and Nick finally reunited and continued on their healing journey from their invisible wounds.
#CombatStigma: Sean Karpf
Sean Karpf wants to dispel people's myths about PTSD and make them more aware of what's past the stereotypes. Seventy-five percent of our warriors report having PTSD and WWP helps warriors connect with each other so they can heal together.
#CombatStigma: Tonya's Story
"When you're in darkness, that's all you see. You think that's all there is. I thought I could handle all of that on my own." Veteran Tonya Oxendine served nearly 30 years in the Army, including tours to Afghanistan and Iraq. Tonya shares her story of strength and recovery, and how WWP Talk showed her she didn't have to face it alone.
#CombatStigma: Kathy Belleville
Kathy Belleville is a caregiver to her husband and wounded warrior Shane. She became so wrapped in his needs that she forgot to take time to care for herself. Kathy's weekly sessions with WWP Talk gave her a chance to look at her situation with a new set of eyes and changing the way she looks at things
Wounded Veteran Shares His Journey Through Song
Nick Morrison’s Humvee was hit by improvised explosive devices on two separate occasions while he was deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps. But it was the one that blew up a vehicle he wasn’t in that he blames for the severity of his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and survivor’s guilt.