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I'm Listening: Brigadier General (Ret.) Jack Hammond

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As part of Audacy’s I’m Listening initiative, representatives from the Home Base Foundation and Wounded Warriors joined us this month to share valuable resources for veterans and validate that struggling does not equal defeat.

To address the heightened rate of veteran suicides, Audacy’s David O’Leary interviewed two major non-profit organizations that aid veterans with all wounds, whether physical, emotional, or mental. Brigadier General (Ret.) Jack Hammond, on behalf of Home Base Veteran and Family Care, began by acknowledging that the hardest step in a veteran’s mental health journey may be knowing when help is truly needed. Referencing his own training, Hammond said, “If you're hurt, you have to suck it up. If you are injured, you require medical attention. And too often people confuse the two when it comes to mental health.” He continued, “Where there's no physical injury that's visible, people assume a mental health issue, you're just a little bit hurt. And you're not injured. So that goes on for a little bit, and when it doesn't get better, it does get worse. And the longer you deal with it without treating it or responding to it, the more problems you have.”

In particular, Hammond believes that a veteran’s over-familiarity with what he calls “no failure situations” makes them more prone to barrel through any mental health struggles without seeking help. “That's kind of our mantra, right? Never accept defeat, failure is not an option” he noted. “So on a personal side, when you're not able to cope with something, you're not able to overcome it, it feels like a failure. And nobody wants to admit defeat on that.”

If you or a veteran you know is struggling, please refer to our list of further mental health resources. You are not alone; Home Base Veteran and Family CareWounded Warrior ProjectVeterans Crisis LineVets4WarriorsVeterans Affairs Get HelpVeterans Affairs Mental Health Toolkit Veteran Affairs Transition TrainingVeteran Affairs on Mental Health.

Audacy's I’m Listening initiative aims to encourage those who are dealing with mental health issues to understand they are not alone. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, know that someone is always there. Additionally, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 988. Find a full list of additional resources here.

Words by Isabella Eaton Interview by David O’Leary

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