Updated: Nov 15, 2018
Veteran of the United States Navy
My name is Natasha Mills and I served in the World’s Greatest Navy for 8 years. I was diagnosed with Depression in 2010. I tried medication for a while but later found out that I didn’t like it and wanted to try living without it. I can’t say it has been easy dealing with depression, but it has become more manageable through the years with different coping skills. There are times when my brain becomes a conspiracy theorist and depression holds me under the water too long, but I continue to fight my way back to the top.
Advice to Veterans
My advice to other veterans experiencing a mental health condition, is to not ignore it. Recognize that you are in pain and get the help needed. Do research to get a better understanding of your condition. For veterans who are out of the military and didn’t separate with any benefits, you can get services from Easter Seals (http://www.easterseals.com/our-programs/military-veterans/). They have counselors who work with veterans to find the help needed.
Family and Friends
Ways that family and friends can support veterans is by getting a better understanding of the mental health condition that a veteran has and what it entails. Veterans can also be proactive and share information with their family and friends about the mental health condition and specific situations that are challenging for them.
Growing up in a Black family, mental health was never taken seriously. My family and some friends believed that I was just “really sad” or not “pulling myself up by the boot straps”, when it came to my depression. My parents couldn’t understand that my suicidal thoughts weren’t a cry for attention but mental anguish. Fortunately, I did have family and friends who understood what I was going through and were willing to help.
Natasha’s Book Recommendation
Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman’s Journey with Depression and Faith (Author: Monica A. Coleman)
The Veterans Crisis Line
Connects Veterans in crisis, their families, and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Responders will work with you to help you get through any personal crisis, even if that crisis does not involve thoughts of suicide. Dial 1-800-273-8255 and (Press 1) to talk to someone now. A confidential chat is also available online or through text. To chat online (https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ChatTermsOfService.aspx) or send a text to 838255 to receive confidential support anonymously.
Provides a range of resources and mental health services to veterans and their family members.
Give an Hour: Giving Help and Hope
Provides mental health services to those currently serving in the military, veterans, and their families.
Together we Served
The largest online community of Veterans that allows you to find people you served with, engage with other veterans, and remember your service.