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Austin Says DOD Must Increase Efforts to Destigmatize Mental Health Care > U.S. Department of Defense > Defense Department News

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Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said both the White House and the Pentagon prioritize the care of military families. Included in that “sacred duty” is a growing commitment to providing support to families who have lost military personnel and to condemn mental health care.

“This is a national pledge and it is for all of us,” he said. “That means working with a friend at the Department of Veterans Affairs [Department of Veterans Affairs].. This means working here in Washington and with state and local legislators. And that means being a good partner with big and small community organizations. “

Austin spoke at the National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp banquet in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28. The 28th Annual Event was sponsored by a tragedy support program for survivors.

The secretary described some of the challenges faced by military families and their beloved families. All the challenges that DOD can support. One challenge is mental health care.

“That means … reducing the stigma of getting help, lowering barriers and doubling our efforts to increase access to mental health care,” Austin said. “We continue to do a very important job in the military community and veteran families to prevent suicide. You have heard me say this before, and I have it. I will continue to say: Mental health is health, duration. “

The secretary also said that DOD must do more to help families who have lost service members.

“We have to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help those who have lost their loved ones,” he said. “We must do more to support new bereaved families at all levels. [from] Find comfort to understand the benefits. I know how heavy the load is. We also need to find more ways to stand together and do whatever we can to reduce the load as much as possible. “

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors provides care and assistance to families who are saddened by the loss of a member of the military.

Austin said TAPS is one of the organizations helping DOD fulfill its duty to care for military families.

“Last year, the organization connected with more than 9,000 newly surviving families … and to help with the worst days everyone can experience,” Austin said. “You can take your family to ball games and meet each other. You helped thousands of people with a training program on sadness, trauma and suicide prevention. You experience intolerable loss. We have provided a space to support children and teenagers who are. You have given people new hope and a strong community they can trust. “

According to Austin, the TAPS organization makes a difference every day within the military community.

“It’s touching, important, and exciting,” he said. “Thank you for your hard work.”

Austin also said that this was a memorial day. US withdrawal from Afghanistan..

“We especially keep in mind that this year is the first Memorial Day since the end of America’s longest war. I remember the 2,461 American soldiers and staff who fell to Afghanistan and served their country.” He said. “For the surviving family, we know that we have sadness with you every day, not just anniversaries. We can feel that time stops after losing a loved one. I know.”

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