In just 10 days, more than 200,000 Americans stepped up to show their support for our nation’s Veterans. They did it from their desks at the office, on their patios with laptops on their knees, and with their mobile phones on the street. How? They engaged with the new Make the Connection Facebook page—the fastest-growing Facebook community ever created in the military sphere. You can join them, too.
While it doesn’t take much to “like” a Facebook page and start talking with other supporters, it can result in enormous good. Everyone in the expanding network of Make the Connection supporters is spreading the word that resources and support are available for Veterans and their loved ones who are facing mental health or other life challenges.
With every like, post, and share, users are helping millions of former Servicemembers understand that for issues ranging from PTSD to depression to problems with alcohol or drugs, treatment is available, and treatment works. They are helping the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) better serve those who served our country.
VA first launched the Make the Connection campaign in November 2011 to introduce Veterans and their families and friends to resources, support, and fellow Veterans like them who found treatment and tools for healthier living. Hundreds of Veterans, and the people who are closest to them, have already shared their stories of facing and overcoming challenges, creating a vast video library that viewers can access at MakeTheConnection.net. Scores of additional Veterans are sharing their stories as the campaign continues, offering their experiences to help those they served with in flight, on base, and in foxholes.
Their efforts are resonating with Veterans across the country. So far, supporters have watched these stories of Veterans’ strength and resilience more than 2 million times. And thousands of visitors have used the website’s resource locator to find treatment options for Veterans and their families near where they live.
Make the Connection is built on the strength and resilience of the men and women from all backgrounds and regions who served in our Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. They may have different skills, faiths, and dreams for their futures, but they are all united in their desire to serve our country and help each other. They are a population particularly well equipped for working through challenges and difficult life events. And, they are particularly deserving of the tools to help them lead healthier lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Many Veterans just need to know that support is available and it makes a difference. VA is helping Veterans connect with the resources they’ve earned—but they can’t do it alone. As a country, we owe it to our Veterans and their loved ones to help VA fulfill this critical mission. That so many people are already getting involved with Make the Connection speaks volumes about our country’s commitment to Veterans. And, it is a credit to the men and women within the Veterans Health Administration who are using all of the tools at their disposal to spread the important message that help is available and treatment works.
I’d like to congratulate VA for their efforts and encourage all of my fellow citizens to continue to support our Veterans by spreading the word about the resources available to them. Visit Facebook.com/VeteransMTC, like the page, share content with your networks, and encourage Veterans you know to reach out when they need support to live healthier lives.
Rosye Cloud is the Director of Policy for Veterans, Wounded Warriors and Military Families at the White House