Reaching Out Makes a Real Difference
By Riggin Waugh
The Real Warriors Campaign sends a strong message to service members about the courage it takes to ask for help.
SAMHSA’s partner, the Department of Defense’s Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), launched the multimedia public education campaign. It seeks to remove the stigma and other barriers that often prevent service members from obtaining treatment for psychological health issues and traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the same way that they receive treatment for physical wounds and illnesses.
The campaign theme is “Real Warriors, Real Battles, Real Strength,” and the campaign Web site features articles and resources as well as video interviews with service members, their families, and others dealing with psychological health or TBI issues.
The Web site currently features a profile and public service announcements (PSAs) on Sgt. Josh Hopper of the U.S. Marine Corps, who saw combat from the front lines during two tours in Iraq. While there, he experienced wounds and TBI from the blasts of improvised explosive devices (IEDS, or homemade bombs).
In the profile, Sgt. Hopper, his wife, and his former commanding officers discuss the challenges he faced as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder as well as the success of his subsequent treatment.
The Web site also includes targeted information for all branches of the military and other key audiences, including active duty service members, National Guard and Reserve, veterans, families of service members, and health care providers.
Real Warriors multimedia programs will bring additional personal stories and new ideas to life. Over time, this section of the Web site will grow to include:
- Profiles of warriors, their families, and caregivers
- Case studies of promising programs and approaches to psychological health
- News and other timely information
- Training materials and other resources.
Campaign materials include a brochure, information kit, media kit, partnership kit, conference exhibit display, and educational items. Multimedia include Real Warriors profiles, satellite news feeds (sound bites and b-roll), TV and radio PSAs, a campaign overview video, video Webcasts, audio podcasts, news clips, and training and informational videos.
Every page of the site lists the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK/8255; press 1 for veterans), a partnership between SAMHSA and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Find out more information about the Real Warriors Campaign.
- Create awareness about the resources available for mental health care treatment among service members, their families, their commanders, and the public at large.
- Create understanding regarding the obstacles service members feel prevent them from seeking treatment for psychological health and TBI issues.
- Create investment on the part of military leadership at all levels in the concepts of resilience and early intervention as well as the roles they play in successful treatment, recovery, and reintegration for returning service members and overall force readiness.