Depression and other mental illnesses seem to be at crisis levels for some segments of the military. One in five Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The rate of suicides among current and former soldiers is on pace to set a dubious record this year. According to USA Today, Fort Bragg—with 13 reported suicides—had the most number of cases of any Army installation as of this summer. Veterans make up 20 percent of suicides in the United States; younger soldiers disproportionately represented.
Now, a group of military wives are working to bring awareness to the struggles of not only the soldiers but their families as well. For the campaign—Battling Bare—the wives are photographed with a touching message scrolled across their bare arms, legs or backs. It reads:
Broken by battle, wounded by war, my love is forever, to you this I swore, I will quiet your silent screams, help heal your shattered soul, until once again, my love, you are whole.
The campaign is the brainchild of Ashley Wise, whose husband sufferers from PTSD. Their aim is not only to bring awareness of mental illness among veterans and those currently serving, and its effect on their families. It is also aimed policymakers. The military is intensely focused on physical health and mental health when in battle. This campaign brings attention to mental health when soldiers return home.
October 10, 2012, is designated World Mental Health Day to raise public awareness about mental health issues by promoting open discussion of mental disorders, and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services. This year the theme for the day is “Depression: A Global Crisis”.