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Understanding Stigma and Mental Health in the Military


Servicemembers and their families often deal with mental health challenges that can accompany military life and the stress of war. These challenges can range from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to other mental disorders. For many, there is stigma attached to having mental health issues, which can lead to servicemembers not asking for or getting the help they need.

Sarah Bumgardner, AAFMAA Director of Partnerships and Member Engagement, spoke with Major General Gregg F. Martin (Retired), PhD about the effect of mental health stigma in the military and how to combat it. Gen. Martin served on active duty in the U.S. Army for 36 years, completing multiple overseas tours. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (twice), the Bronze Star Medal, and the Combat Action Badge for his service. He separated from service in May 2015 and his diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder inspired him to write a book about his experience, entitled Bipolar General: My Forever War with Mental Health. Gen. Martin lives in Florida with his wife Amy. They have three grown sons, two of whom are Army combat Veterans, and one who is an artist.

Visit Gen. Martin’s website to find out more about his experiences and his book. To learn more about mental health in the military, watch the discussion below.