Avon, Conn. — In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, Magellan Health Services, Inc., a specialty healthcare management organization with expertise in managing behavioral health, radiology and specialty pharmaceuticals, has launched a new program called "Take Mental Health To Heart," which promotes the importance of good mental health as a key component to total wellness The theme for the inaugural 2011 program is mental wellness for members of the military and their families. With America’s ongoing involvement in wars and conflicts overseas, initiatives to support mental wellness for the U.S. military community have become increasingly important: one report estimates that approximately 18.5 percent of service members returning from Iraq or Afghanistan have post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.
Take Mental Health To Heart strives to create an understanding of the military population’s mental wellness challenges, humanize their special circumstances and help combat the stigma that too often accompanies mental illness.
“Members of the military and their families make extraordinary sacrifices for our country, and in doing so, many face mental wellness challenges unique to their situation,” said René Lerer, MD, Magellan’s chairman and CEO. “Magellan is committed to supporting our service members and veterans, and we see the Take Mental Health To Heart initiative as another way to raise awareness about this important matter by putting our behavioral health expertise to work for America’s heroes.”
Every Wednesday in May, Magellan and its campaign partners—the National Military Family Association and Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc. —will provide new resources and information on topics from various phases and aspects of military service, such as preparing family and friends for a loved one’s deployment; mental wellness on duty; dealing with trauma, loss and grief; and the transition home or to civilian life after service. Information, videos, online assessment tools and interactive elements are available at www.TakeMentalHealthToHeart.com.
“There are many resources available to help our service members, veterans, and their families confront the mental health stressors they face, yet too many in our community suffer in silence without seeking the support they need,” said Joyce Wessel Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association. “In working with Magellan for Take Mental Health To Heart, we aim to raise awareness that assistance is available and recovery is possible, all the while fighting the mental illness stigma that prevents those with conditions like anxiety, post traumatic stress and depression from asking for help.”
The interactive section of TakeMentalHealthToHeart.com features free electronic “post cards” with a variety of images, messages and a link to additional campaign resources. Cards are designed for family and friends to send to loved ones in the military offering words of encouragement and appreciation, as well as for those in the military to send to friends and family who have provided support during their service.
For every e-postcard sent, Magellan and Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc. will each donate $1 to support the National Military Family Association, up to a combined total of $50,000. The site also features a digital message wall where visitors can share their stories, encouragement and words of gratitude for members of the military and their families.
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